Sorry, Patty, I shall answer your second question tomorrow. Today I have to deal with a brilliant idea I have for a new fantasy novel.
It’s all about a beautiful young heroine…I shall call her Iduya because I love that name. She is not rich, but is determined to work in order to help her family. Luckily, the Good God Above has seen fit to bestow her with a sweet singing voice as well as sweet looks, so she performs to earn an honest living. She dresses in the modern way of that land as she sings in the city.
Of course, there are villains. These are men with dark souls and evil minds, who believe – in their total arrogance – that they are better than everyone else and that they speak for the Good God Above. A minor Ruler of the Realm has even given their leader a title for his services in the name of the God.
The leader sends henchmen from his organisation (termed JAIP, or “Justice and Imprisonment for Independent Personages”) to search out folk who don’t pay homage to his way of thinking. Oddly enough, he always seems to target women. [I’ll have to do some thinking on that one – I mean, it sounds kinda wacky, doesn’t it, that someone has it in for 50% of the population…I’ll have to explain that sort of prejudice so that it makes sense. Difficult, I know, and it may end up being the weakness of the book. Darn, it is hard to make a law seem at all sensible to intelligent readers when it targets women but does not apply to men …]
Anyway, these evil-minded men from JAIP find the lovely Iduya singing. They are so determined to stop her from being so independent and giving simple pleasure to others, that they arrest her, throw her into a cell, packed in with other prisoners, and they use their magic to make it cold so that they will all spend the night shivering.
They call everything she touches unclean, accuse her of immorality against The Good God, tell her she is tainting her family with her wicked money. They want her to feel small and dirty and guilty, and they are very good at that kind of thing. They try very hard to find evidence, but she is a heroine and so, of course, they can’t find any proof.
So, after a night of freezing, and being ogled by the villains who make magic pictures of her to drool over in their spare time, they say she is going to be brought before the judge for not wearing clothes with sleeves in them (this in a land where half the female population doesn’t wear sleeves, and the men often go naked to the waist…) They say that because she did this, and because her singing was so pleasurable, men are made immoral and unable to resist immorality…that they are forced to fornicate just by catching sight of the lovely Iduya and hearing the heavenly sounds of her God-granted voice.
No. Now that I have written this down, it sounds sooooooooo ridiculous. I mean, no one would believe a silly fantasy like this, would they?
I mean, what male reader would like to be told that a song and two bare arms has the power to make him behave immorally?
And how can bare arms do that anyway, when half the women in the land wear sleeveless clothes out in the street? I’d have to portray every male in the story as rolling around on the pavement committing grave acts of fornication every time they saw a woman or heard the sweetness of her voice.
Besides, reading the paper this morning, I read something that makes it seem as though I pinched the idea from somewhere else. Nope, the whole thing is just so stupid, no one is ever going to be convinced by the story or feel for my heroine.
After all, no one would ever behave in such a ridiculous, puerile manner as my guys from JAIP, would they?