Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Whom Can You Trust?

The best "Oh shit!" moments come in the middle of the night. THREE extremely picky and meticulous readers missed two huge mistakes on page nine of "Warrior." Both of these had to do with only two sentences: Odysseus, in the background, telling how he tricked Achilles into joining the expedition against Troy.

In that often-told story, Achilles' mother dressed him like a girl and put him in among the many daughters of the king of Scyros, so that everyone could claim that he wasn't there, so that he couldn't be recruited when Agamemnon came looking for him. The trick was that Odysseus had someone blow a war horn, and the boy jumped out of the crowd of girls, ready to do battle.

Okay, so everybody knows that story, right? Wait.

Achilles, a genuine psychopath, would never have consented to being hidden that way. The story absolutely does not suit him as he is depicted in the Iliad. It does not lead to the implacable warrior hero who never set a foot wrong in battle, had very little mercy, etc, etc, etc. Such a man would not hide among girls because his mother told him to, or for any other reason. Also, no psychopath would do that; it would offend his sense of his own grandeur to pretend to be a girl - his natural prey. Yes, he ran to his mother when Agamemnon insulted him, but only to demand that she intervene with Zeus and let the Trojans start winning (killing off his brothers in arms) until everyone would see how they couldn't possibly manage without him, and Agamemnon would have to beg him to come back.

Second problem with this? Odysseus would never tell how Achilles was tricked into joining the expedition because HE was tricked into joining the expedition, and he's going to keep that very, very quiet until he can figure out how to avenge it.

This is NOT Henri Vidal's Cain. It is Magan, the god of dismay.
See? Sometimes 4AM can be a writer's best friend. And whom can a writer trust? Nobody. Including herself.

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