No, this isn’t about that craptacular movie with Brigette Nielson. Blarg. That film was an insult to fantasy movies. And even though it may not come to fruition, this isn’t about the remake produced by Robert Rodriguez. It could be, because I’m a fan of his work. But it’s not. This isn’t even about the comic version of Red Sonja (though again, it could be – Adriano Batista has done outstanding work on the covers, some of which you can see here).
Sidebar: for an awesome portrait of the character, see this picture on DeviantArt. The proportions are right, muscle-tone is great, and her look is flinty and beautiful. Fantastic.
No, this about my Red Sonja. Or Red Sonja as she should have been, in my humble opinion. This is about my character, Sheyla.
Sheyla is a red-headed teenager from a tiny fishing village in the Borran Isles, which are part of the Innorian Empire. Early on, some tragedy forces her to leave the Isles and head out into the world as an adventurer. Along the way, she gets tangled in a wide variety of plots, intrigue, love, and adventures.
Sheyla’s story actually started as a throwaway tale and has gone through a few iterarations so far. I like to think I did this the right way; I eschewed the rape-lead-to-fantasy-powers origin, which I always thought was a bit facile. Instead, Sheyla’s skills are evolving as the story goes. She spends time a lot of time learning and training. She’s not invincible. She’s been overpowered before and more than once, has to rely on her brains and feet instead of her sword arm. She’s not perfect and though attractive, certainly not a ravishing beauty. And though I have nothing against the concept, she doesn’t strut about in a chainmail bikini.
But what I hope she does do is prove to be an appealing character to readers. She’s brave, resourceful, and her attitude has evolved from a naive village girl to a battle-hardened, practical adventurer … and that is what I hope the reader sees and enjoys. I hope, I hope, I hope….
I have five Sheyla stories finished. I had six but scrapped one. So far, we have:
The Wolves of Borra Shael
The Creeping Horde
Brigands and Broken Dreams
He Who is Cursed
Fall of the Prophet
And I am completely rewriting "The City of Rust," which would be #6. I have two more outlined, and conceptualized at least two others.
All told, the first five stories are 15K to 25K words long each. If I did my math right, they add up to about 100K words. Right in the sweet spot for a paperback..
So … any publishers out there who want to take a look? I’ll hold my breath … for a little while, anyway.