This is something I always do when I write. Jot down my early ideas and then, once I've decided that I've 'got something', I start a diary to keep track of the story as I write and make a note of the changes and sudden ideas I have. As I'm a touch typist I just rattle it off at break neck speed with numerous mistakes (Even more so in the case of this fic when the whole thing was basically written in two days!) As such, I have tidied this up a little to make it more readable but, other than that, it's basically unchanged. I hope it makes sense!
So, welcome to my head! It's a bit of a strange place at times, I'm afraid.
12th August 2011
New fic idea/plan. A story which is repeated through several povs – each progressing the story a little further and revealing something new. Had this idea in relation to original stories for a while now but never really pursued it. Looking back on the couple of times I've followed a story from Merlin pov and then repeated it from Arthur's pov (or visa versa) made me think of extending it further.
Only thought so far: Merlin's sick (but we don't know it) Uther panics because he thinks he sees Arthur using magic. Seeing him in training and an arrow or sword suddenly and obviously turned away by magic. We start with his insane rantings to Gaius and then either go to some sort of court case or have other people come to Gaius with their take on it.
Yeah, I know – it doesn't work yet – but I've long since learnt that the only way to really get these ideas sorted in my head is to start to write them.
For this to really work there needs to be a twist. A big, clever, twist and that isn't at all easy in fanfiction when most ideas have been covered. I will still find it hard to veer off any previous plot ideas/romances etc, so I think, in this romance will generally be out and I'll also avoid any crystal cave refs too.
The problem with the top idea is that it has been done. Merlin protecting Arthur with magic whilst he's unconscious. However, if I could have the reader assume Merlin's there, then have a second pov realise that he isn't, that would help.
Love the idea of starting with Uther coming to Gaius in a panic. First Morgana, then Arthur. What can it mean? Is it his fault? Is it possible that Arthur having been conceived of magic has done this? Is there a chance he might not have know what he was doing? (Big, big thing for Uther to consider but then, he is mad) Where did he go wrong? Having two children turn to magic, what did he do to make them betray him like that?
"Why do you think it's Arthur?" Gaius doesn't want to implicate Merlin but then, secretly he knows the boy is either not guilty or is not culpable as he's currently sick but, can't let the reader know that yet - so, we can't be in Gaius' chambers. Could have him asking Uther to come by later – he would attend him but there's been a fever going around and he has a couple of patients in his chambers to attend to.
Don't want Arthur or Gaius pov too early either because then M's illness will be obvious.
Could even start with a teaser chapter which is Merlin. He's in a fevered dream state but we don't know that. It's basically him seeing the whole training scenario pan out before him and saying ...
"Of course, Prat. Brilliant. I follow you to every boring meeting, every quest, every hunt, just to ensure that you don't get killed before your time and then what happens? You choose the one, perfectly normal, perfectly ordinary training day to get yourself in trouble … when I'm not actually by your side to save you. (55)
So now what? What's the point of our wonderful shared destiny if you're going to get yourself killed by a stray crossbow arrow during training. Clotpole! How do you expect me to save you now? And you call me an idiot. (96)
Interesting idea. Chapter 1 prequel is also a drabble?
So, that instantly sets up the idea that Merlin's not around.
Then, chapter 1 Uther raves about what he saw.
chapter 2 Gwaine or Lancelot? If the latter we could have him suddenly look around the field thinking, where's Merlin?
It can't be a long term illness. Perhaps it's even something as fun and daft as having Merlin knocked out. Could even have that happen as part of the story.
So, meant to come back from a lovely lunch out and continue but never did – did think things through a bit though.
Confirmed – it's not a fever but an accident. Merlin's fallen downstairs this morning whilst attending Arthur and knocks himself out (makes a change) Others notice he's not at Arthur's side but few know why.
Bother, just re read the above – thought I'd progressed the story further in my head but, apparently not. Still, it does seem more feasible now I come to re-read it today. This fic might actually work!
The problem now is who to use for other povs and also – there needs to be something else here, I think - some other thread that's running through this story, otherwise it doesn't give me a good chance for several povs.
I think I'm going to start writing out as a conventional normal time-line story and see what happens.
So, have written the drabble and most of Uther. The revelation of Arthur's magic seems such a good place to stop and suddenly this whole story is crying out for a Gaius pov next BUT. How can I do that without revealing Merlin's accident?
Perhaps by stopping at the door swinging open and a voice announcing . "Gaius, there's been an accident. Can you help me?"
Just started Gaius' chapter and am coming to the part of the day when Uther's looking out of the window and Gaius needs to end up with another job so – the King has to see something before Merlin arrives to attend him. It could be that a horse bolts and a lady is knocked over. That lady could be our boy's mother.
Was going to start Lancelot's chapter with the court case but it really restricts things if I can't use his thoughts and go into the little details about Gwen that he definitely wouldn't be sharing whilst in court so … I'm not going to. I'm simply going to do his pov – a first for me, I think. Up to and including the start of the court case when he's called as a first witness.
I LOVE, LOVE this writing lark! I love where it comes from, how it evolves. I can't believe that I'm going to have most of this story written today. I want to write it all before I start but am beginning to suspect that I'll publish the prologue today anyway. It's not as if I don't know how it's going to end – I've written it all, just have to copy it but, saying that ...
I've just found out what magic Merlin used!
I didn't decide, I just realised – so weird! Arthur held his arm out to protect himself. At first I just had Uther misunderstand. But now Lancelot's seen it too and he confirmed that he didn't use his arm, he held out his hand. Why?
Because Merlin's got into his head! He's got inside Arthur and used him to create the magic. That's why it looks like it was him!
Couldn't sleep last night so I read through everything I'd written in the early hours and made a few additions/corrections. First thing this morning I started on 'Merlin' and as usual just kept typing until the end. I'd had a couple of thoughts about this last chapter; either it would start with the trial, or be a repeat of the day from Merlin's pov including when he was unconscious (hence the prologue) I didn't really think about that when I started this morning and typed the first option. I had almost got to the end when I realised ... I'D MADE THE WRONG CHOICE. In this version I've got Merlin and Gaius pouring over books trying to work out what happened and needing to talk to Arthur to work it out. I've already added some stuff to Arthur's chapter where he recalls a little more about his thoughts at the time and now I think that, by adding to that a little more, I can stick entirely to Merlin's re accounting and how he comes to the decision to literally swap consciousnesses with Arthur in order to perform the magic through his body.
'Prologue' and 'Uther' have gone down well. The next chapter is where readers will start guessing about Merlin's involvement, ie will work out that it's Merlin that's injured and start to make the connection with The Poisoned Chalice – I'd be very surprised if someone didn't. Doesn't matter – the exact nature of his help will be harder to guess but I hope not too 'way out'. Anyway, just editing Gaius before it goes out and suddenly decided to add a tiny bit to Gwaine's conversation to set up the later chat he has with Arthur. Just a hint on how Arthur's taking it, otherwise I know people will ask and – I do want people to be able to look back and see all the links. Got another good Gwaine joke in too. 'We need humour in the face of adversity or else we'd all go mad. I mean, look at Uther."
Another little addition in the Lancelot chapter, where the knight ends up being the one that separates John from his mother, by lifting the boy away from the horse and to safety. So very 'Lancelot' What's surprising me is how much this character is involved in all the plot points. It was never my intention but he's chosen this day to train the horse, has separated the boy from his mother and is one who let go of the weapon because he's too busy day dreaming about Gwen. So, it's all Lancelot's fault – lol!
All basically done but, yesterday, I had the whole story finishing with Merlin ending the spell and "ow" which I've known for a few days is not really enough. Just about to go out but thinking that I'll either end the Merlin chapter on 'ow' or with Gaius interrupting the boys. Then I'll add an extra epilogue chapter which will be the day of the trial – which is mostly in the notes I edited from the 'wrong' version of the Merlin chapter. Merlin being called as witness (cause I love that 'hard to forget' line from Uther) and he and Gaius going back to their research with Arthur coming in at the end - again using that nice bit where Merlin's nervous about the books and stunned that Arthur's so accepting.
So, I'll be using most of the edit stuff but with a lot less of Arthur's memories because I really don't want him to remember much at all. Gaius can simplify it down to possession, and Arthur has just turned up to talk to Merlin about the horse … Lancelot has gone back, only to find the horse can't cope with him after the events the previous day and suggests that Merlin is the only one that can deal with him now. So Arthur asks Merlin but … is his usual sarcastic self and so Merlin – keen to start training – throws the line …
"Arthur, I'm hurt. I thought you trusted me with your life?" Arthur's glare slowly turns into total and utter confusion as Merlin walks past him grinning.
"See you later, Gaius. Gotta see a man about a horse!"
And then … the End!
A/N As I said, I always do this but, in the case of this fic, I thought I might be even more interesting than usual. I was honestly SO convinced that the early reviews would be inundated with people saying that they had the whole thing sussed (So ... thank you if you actually did and didn't post it in a review keeping the spoilers safe for others!) The best bit of this was the magic reveal - the fact that I'd planned to have Uther simply misunderstand at first and then the story seemed to write itself and 'told me' exactly what spell Merlin had cast. That is why I was so excited when I typed that paragraph. I really do love how the story and the characters often take over like that.