Challenge 395 Response
“Of Drums and Thunder”
by Carmen Ruggero and Don Webb
Is Travis J. Gates’ “Of Drums and Thunder” a complete story or does it seem to be a chapter in a larger story?
[Carmen] Funny thing about the woman: she’s not a participant in this story. She’s in the background until the kidnapping, and even then we don’t hear her speak a word. She’s talked about, she's rescued and transported, and her trip back home seems to have been left as a cliffhanger.
The story either continues and is a part of a series or is a chapter in a larger piece. I tend to think of it as a chapter. Now here’s my predicament: As good as I think it is up where it ends, it doesn't work as a stand-alone; it seems unfinished.
[Don] And yet the hero, Saviin, is given a challenge, which he overcomes even as he resolves a series of problems and meets other, lesser challenges along the way. In structure, then, I have to say that “Of Drums and Thunder” is a complete story. But I readily grant that it seems incomplete because it leaves us wanting more!
I agree with your observations about the female character. She provides a pretext for the action but is only a passive participant in it, herself. That seems to be either a missed opportunity or one that might promise excitement in a subsequent adventure of Saviin’s.
I also feel a little uneasy when authors develop interesting characters and then write them out of the script, as when Saviin puts his friend Yrisir out of his misery. I’m not sure what purpose that scene serves. I think good characters are hard to come by and ought not to be wasted.