Saturday, 28 July 2012

Best Laid Plans - Vidal

Something very amusing happened to me last week, you know.

It must have been sometime in the evening when some strange gibbering furry creature came bounding into my presence, looking very flustered and waving a piece of paper in front of my face. Once my mind had dropped to the appropriate level of intelligence, I deciphered the near illegible scrawl as a note, asking me to write some manner of themed article for the blog of my authoress – who, you doubtless have realised, is the aforementioned noisemaking hairball. She requested that I word my post based around the theme of some dull and dreary story-planning technique, because – the note assured me – I was one of the few who had the necessary skills.

The thing that amused me so much was that she thought I would listen.

There are very few things in life that I have patience for, and regrettably my creator has yet to make it onto the list. She can find any innumerable number of sycophantic fools in my city of Tanelorn alone to prate on about the pros and cons of pre-planned stories over improvised ones - they follow her orders out of fear of becoming victim to any member of her vast array of weaponry.

They have yet to work out the art that I am going to inform you of today, my friends. That of subtle insubordination.

First of all, know your enemy. And by that I do not mean memorising their favourite foods and what colour clashes worst with their off-coloured toenails. I mean know your enemy, the way you know your route home from your friend’s house, or the way your cat will invariably vomit its dinner onto the rug if you don’t give it the correct number of tummy rubs after supper. Know them so well that their behaviour is second nature. Know them better than they know themselves.

This is the true secret of success. Now, whenever you act, or even contemplate acting, you will not have to waste precious seconds thinking out your foe’s reaction. Because those seconds are going to make all the difference between your victory, and the local law enforcement scraping your entrails off the wall the next morning.

Next, you must gather your resources. Information, allies, weapons, jars of congealed fish guts, whatever you need for your current endeavour. Don’t waste time with things that “might come in useful”. Those are the things that you will trip over and impale yourself on later – literally, or metaphorically.

If you didn’t know what you were going to need beforehand, please stop reading and go and drown yourself quietly in a corner. It will save your enemy the trouble of doing it themselves.

The next stage is the truly dangerous part. Before you put so much as a hair over the threshold of action, you need to think long and hard about your course of action. But whatever you do, do not plan it out in detail. Detailed plans are all too easily derailed by the smallest thing, and that’s when the fur flies. One or two key events – particularly, personal interaction with your foe – are all you need, no matter how long your endeavour. Those markers are the only pre-planned action you will take. The rest, to put it bluntly, is nothing more than spontaneous acts of inspired improvisation. Make the most of your resources – you got them because you knew you needed them. Not because you knew why.

After this, there is the simple matter of taking the leap and hoping you reach the other side. Odds are you won’t – your enemy may have taken the bait you laid for them, but there is always some unknown factor waiting in the wings to scupper best laid plans. Do whatever you must to ensure your goal. Those of you who are squeamish over breaching moral codes will doubtless fail spectacularly at this.

The only action you should never take is to give up, for success can come from the most unexpected outcomes. I once knew a certain half-breed bastard who took the wrong side during the bloodiest civil war my people have ever known. By the end of it, the Crossblood was a Kingmaker.

Charming fellow, by the way. If a little smug.

We are all deer, my friends. Deer who snort and run around in circles the moment the wolf shows its teeth before the herd. The best hope the deer have is to run – those who hesitate, or attempt some act of altruistic stupidity, will die bloody deaths to stand example for the rest. However, the clever deer know they don’t have to outrun the wolf. Just the other deer.

Wouldn’t you say this was a far greater use of your time than reading about “brainstorming” and “plot milestones” and “flexible approaches to ad-libbing”.

Wait.

Ah.

Well played, author. Well played.

- Vidal

18 comments:

  1. Ahh Vidal * flourishing bow* You never fail to amuse me. And very informative.

    (Or me - Rachael smiles as she toasts a glass of Vidal to Vidal - I think I've met the cross-blood of who you speak.)

    (Sarah rolls her eyes at Rachael and then looks to Vidal - So if I'm hearing correctly, The Scouts where on the right track when they 'tossed' me into the General's Fortress and let me improvise? - she shrugs - who knew Jason was so smart. - and grins)

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    1. Thank you. Though I find "amuse" a somewhat offensive term for the life-threatening feat I just performed for your sake.

      Madam Rachael, I suspect you have. I hope you will agree with me that he was a truly charming personality.

      Madam Sarah, yes. Yes they were. Though you cannot claim credit for their plan if it was not your idea in the first place. Unless . . . no, I don't think I could give you tips on that particular skill just yet. A certain someone might take offence if I started giving you advice on which instruments are best for silencing witnesses.

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  2. Funny. Real funny. Remind me not to let you near Quirk.

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    1. Your use of grammar is far from "funny", but I thank you for the compliment.

      Note taken. All "Quirks" are to be hereafter avoided.

      - Vidal

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    2. When sarcasm is concerned, Vidal, grammar has no place. That would be like trying to get an outlaw to pay the parking meter.

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    3. . . . Whatever this dreaded "parking meter" is, I hope it causes the aforementioned outlaws a good deal of grief.

      - Vidal

      {Author's note: The face he was making at the word "parking meter" in my imagination has earned you ten billion awesome points, Liam xD}

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    4. Okay, simpler terms... That would be like getting a master thief to pay for his midday meal. Those two things don't work together.

      {To author: Good. I'd put those points in my vault, but it's too full already. I'll have to open a fifth bank account.}

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    5. Of course they don't. Who honestly pays for midday meals nowadays anyway?

      - Vidal

      {Haha, perhaps. Enjoy them anyway - they make wonderful wall ornaments.}

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    6. Actually, one of the thieves I know does, just to keep up the persona of an ordinary, law-abiding citizen.

      {Hadn't thought of that...}

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    7. To each their own. I hope your thief has a large abundance of money. Though if he does, I may ask for his address so that I may pilfer it myself.

      - Vidal

      {Haha, it takes some doing, but it's most effective.}

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    8. Whoops, he just disappeared from my radar. Sorry.

      {Indeed?}

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    9. Never mind. I shall find him anyway.

      - Vidal

      {Yes, indeed. Also, you may want to tell your thief to start running. This guy is not joking. Seriously.}

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    10. Here's to hoping that you do; he owes me money in a big way. He's a thief.

      {I have it on good authority that the thief just disappeared in a flash of purplish-green light. Something having to do with stealing from the wrong really powerful entity. And getting on the wrong side of a Vorsian mallard.}

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    11. Excellent. Do I have your permission to break a few ribs when I find him? Because if I don't I'm going to anyway.

      - Vidal

      {Ooer . . . Vi may not get his chance to mangle your thief at all then. Perhaps he'll just get to laugh at his splattered remains when he returns.}

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    12. Yeah, just send some back to me. I forgot to plan tonight's dinner-- that would give me a big break.

      {Yeah... That would be if the mallard hadn't eaten the remains.}

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  3. You've been tagged!
    To see it, go to pathfindersfindings.blogspot.com

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  4. Know your enemy? Well, mine lives inside my head, so that's okay, but he still manages to surprise me.

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    1. Don't worry - I live inside MY enemy's head. It's even more fun when you know they can't actually kill you in as many painful ways as they would like to.

      - Vidal

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