Wow, long time since I wrote anything here!
As I’m sure you noticed, I’ve written a good portion of Chapter 10 and posted it on FictionPress. With two main maps of Rome’s mansion posted, and a third map underway, my mind is now moving from hidden doors and secret passageways to the puzzles, stereotypes, and inner workings of society. Much to my chagrin, I have been forced to map out a rough sketch of Labriella’s town, thereby adding to the growing number of maps rattling around in my head. Without at least a rough sketch of the town, it is almost impossible to determine where Rome should go next in his quest for information, or what types of people he will meet and the nature of the help he will receive.
Sexism scouts be warned: This story will have all kinds of stereotypes. It is not that I endorse stereotypes. On the contrary: I make stereotypes to break them. It is my personal understanding that, while people hate to be put in a category, because everyone wants to be thought “unique” and “original,” each person either enjoys or overlooks the advantages of having a stereotype forced onto them, to either their advantage or their downfall.
What do I mean?
I mean if you are considered a “jock,” many people may say you are good at sports and nothing else. The jock has the advantage, because people are expecting them to use brawn instead of brains. By using quick wit and intellect, the jock may overpower their unsuspecting opponent in a heartbeat, at the time of their choosing.
I mean if you are considered a “nerd,” many people may assume that your only redeeming quality is your above-average intelligence. The nerd has the advantage, because people expect them to rely on good grades and lengthy explanations full of big words to get them through life. But many nerds are deemed such because they care more for their mind than their appearance, and at the drop of a hat, if they really wanted to, they could show the outward beauty they’ve had all along and stun their opponents into shocked silence.
I mean that nobility, merchants, business owners, bartenders, common people, servants, prostitutes, doctors, and priests, heroes and villains, men and women, major and minor characters, are all expected to act a certain way, and while they may be trapped by the heavy weight of expectations others have put on them due to their station, they are also granted advantages due to their station, borne of the element of surprise and the opportunity for the unexpected.
There is the added bonus that most people label what they are afraid of. For instance, the average high schooler might be afraid of the jock’s physical strength or the nerd’s genius or the artist’s viewpoint. People are afraid of talents and abilities they believe they do not have, skills or experiences they believe will give others the upper hand and make them vulnerable. People persecute what they don’t understand, misinterpreting it as a threat.
Stereotypes are made to be broken. The story of a beauty and a beast is the epitome of that, no matter the writer or their chosen rendition. It is an inescapable contrast borne of other people’s labels induced upon that which they can and cannot understand.
And so I set about to make a society in order to break it, that it might be remade, and then broken again, and so on. Is our society not one which constantly changes? Are stereotypes and tendencies of Rome and Labriella’s world so different from the history (and in many ways, the present) world of our own? Just because we don’t like certain events in our history, doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. Just because we don’t like certain aspects of our society, doesn’t mean they don’t exist, or that we don’t have to deal with them–many times on a daily basis.