Friday, 8 July 2016

Problem And Solution


Plato's Cave,
Mermaids And Larry Rance II,
The Makeshift Rocket: Conclusion and
Ramble With A Gamblin' Man II.

There are several other examples that might be found by a careful search of the blog although not at 03.00 AM. In each of these posts, I draw attention to a particular Andersonian story-telling technique:

the competent hero has a practical problem;
his body stiffens and/or he breaks off in mid-sentence as he suddenly realizes the solution;
however, he articulates the solution neither to his companion(s) nor to the reader;
instead, he sets out to implement the solution and we learn what it is when it has worked;
this is usually a satisfactory conclusion to the story.

Do we realize what the solution is before we are told it? I don't.

The Broken Sword presents a slight variation on this formula:

the gods have given the elves a broken sword that will help them when they need it;
the elves are being overrun and defeated by the trolls;
Skafloc Elven-Fosterling, hiding from the trolls, remembers...;
Freda feels him stiffen and tremble...

He does mention the sword so, to that extent at least, he does not conceal the nature of the solution. Nevertheless, he must now recover the sword from an elven castle occupied by trolls and must then transport this broken weapon to the giant who can reforge it. This will be a Quest - and also a solution.

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