What is the point of Elemental?
A.k.a. ‘Wait, what? Oh shit…!’
Obviously, there’ll be spoilers ahead.
This question is tough to answer, because I didn’t originally start writing with an end-game in mind – it was just an exercise for Uni that evolved into something, turned out a mess, and had to be rewritten from the start. I’ve just finished that rewrite, and while it’s not perfect, it’s a hell of a lot better. But there’s still a ways to go, and I’m probably too close to it to say exactly what the point is (shut up, haven’t you heard of Discovery Writing?!)
It’s also ridiculously easy to answer: the point is to entertain the reader. That’s it. So, answering that question is both easy and difficult.
I guess one point to it all could be to say something about the damsel-in-distress trope. I probably need to delve deeper into that, though; flesh out the theme, which I didn’t discover until I wrote those bits where there’s a damsel to rescue.
Of course, having two different damsels to rescue could be seen as examining the trope through the lens of two different female characters. On that note, maybe the point is to pass the Bechdel Test. Then again, maybe not. Do my female characters talk to one another? There’s three of them, and there’ll be a dinner table scene, because I want to be Joss Whedon – he did dinner table scenes in Firefly so damn well, and I am nothing if not a copycat – and that could definitely provide ample opportunity for Rachel, Sarah and Jessica to chew the fat.
Maybe the point is that Jarred is a fool for damsels in distress. Maybe he has a secret (metaphorical) hard-on for women in danger. Maybe he’s just a perfect gentleman and he’ll go to any length to rescue a lady. He’s a knight in shining armour, and for some reason or another girls he knows keep getting captured.
Case in point: Rachel gets caught because she’s new to the outside world (outside her metaphorical ivory tower), her inexperience and youthful foolishness are her downfall. I could say something about that, and I intended to, so I’ll see how other people see it, to determine whether I’ve done it right or wrong (sometimes something that seems like a sledgehammer to you is a gentle tap to the reader).
Sarah, who is much more world-wise due to age, wisdom, and experience, wouldn’t fall into the same trap as Rachel. She gets kidnapped by a shadow-jumping fucktard who uses a rag doused with chloroform to capture ‘the prize’. But she’s no wilting wallflower, like he imagines her to be, and always carries a hidden knife in her boot, just in case. The guy likes ropes, so she can simply cut them with a sharp enough blade. (As for handcuffs, I’ll have to research how to get out of them. The Fallout method involves a bobby pin and screwdriver. The Elder Scrolls use Lockpicks. I admit that I don’t know the first thing about how to actually remove handcuffs or pick locks. This could be some interesting research, to say the least.)
Sarah then kicks Nick’s ass when she gets free. She goes for every weak point – she’s a medic, after all, and has detailed knowledge of the human anatomy, even if she has healing magic that doesn’t really require detailed knowledge of the human anatomy to do its job, but she’s forward-thinking and knows this stuff as a backup in case of anti-magic. She literally whips him, then performs one or more of the following critical hits: kicks him in the balls, punches him in the throat, uppercuts him in the nose, or pinches a pressure point. The point is that she’s furious at being locked up in his rape dungeon and lets him know about it. With her fists. And that whip. She really feels empowered by that whip, too. So she keeps it. And maybe the handcuffs. Cause that’s hot.
The contrast of two or more different types of damsels is a major part of the point, if there is indeed a point to my rambling story. The other point is passing the Bechdel Test, which is all the rage right now. Non-primary points are attempting good and socially conscious writing (without pandering to the audience and being too nice about it) and humour. Another point is to put as many pulp fiction beats into the story as I can. This includes rescuing women from danger, because of the style of those stories. (I doubt anyone needs to research pulp fiction to know that these sorts of tales have damsels to be rescued. It’s a pretty prominent element to such fiction.)
Another point would be that family is sometimes just who’s in your closest group. For Tesla Squad, who are mostly orphans, family means each other – family and friendship are the same thing.
I could make other points. I don’t know if that would make the work schizophrenic, though. It might. It could get awfully cramped in there, in the one book. That’s why there’s a series.
Turns out that’s a lot of points for something that supposedly doesn’t have any. I find this acceptable.