I want to preface this blog by saying that there will be a Monsters update this week. We’re just moving Monsters updates to Sundays. This is going to work out for us and you, dear readers, in a couple of ways.
- The holidays are coming up, and we’re going to be really busy on those days. You still might not get updates on holiday weeks, but this makes it so much more likely that you will.
- Erin and I have both had some life changes happen in the last month or so, and it turns out that our original schedule isn’t doing it for us, so we’re changing it.
Now, you can check out here and come back on Sunday, or you can read a rambling blog about this character I love from an entirely different set of stories Erin and I are working on that you’ll get next year, though I make no hard and fast promises regarding when you will get them.
So, I love video games. How does this relate to Bennett Quint, she of the first short story I put on this site? Well, I’m glad you asked because I’m about to tell you.
I’ve been playing video games since I was a kid. At first, they were mostly a group activity. I’d play a few on my own but I always had more fun playing with my cousins. There were the DOS games. Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventure. Duke Nukem. Then DOOM. Dark Forces. Shadows of the Empire. Freaking Half-Life. Then the Playstation came out and we were all over that, though my memories of those games aren’t as strong as the ones that came before. Then on PS2, there was this game called TimeSplitters and I played the crap out of that with my cousins. Those were some good times.
Then I stopped playing games for a while. I went away to college and didn’t have a system. I think I played Half-Life again on my computer one time but otherwise, nothing but Solitaire, Freecell, and Minesweeper. Sometime after, I sat down with a copy of Elder Scrolls Oblivion and my sister’s PS3, and that was probably where glimmer of an idea that would be Bennett Quint started. Then came Fallout 3, which… I gotta say. I LOVE Fallout. The fact of Fallout 4 fills me with such unimaginable joy.
Anyway, for a long time, I only played open world games. I didn’t want to follow a set story. I just wanted to mess around doing what I wanted to do. And it turns out, what I wanted to do was to make a lot of money and have the best weapons and armor remotely possible. Simple goals, right? I pretty much played the same character in every open world game. My tastes have since evolved; I don’t play a lot of games, but I love a good story. But that’s a conversation filled with The Last of Us, the whole Bioshock trilogy plus DLC, Dishonored Red Dead Redemption, and Portal 2 for another time.
The characters I played were pretty similar. They were usually brunettes or red-heads, always ladies, and sneaking was right out. I did not sneak. I rush headlong into battles, holding two weapons when possible (thank you, Skyrim!), the better to beat the crap out of a bad guy. I found I couldn’t really do big evil things. I could happily steal stuff, but the big evil stuff made me squirm a bit. I never blew up Megaton, for example. I always found myself dragged into helping people with their problems because it’s a video game and I always ended up with loads of money and weapons and armor and what was I to do but solve people's’ problems?
Eventually, I named a Skyrim character Bennett Quint. And there she was. Fully formed and ready for writing. I started writing about her. Not Skyrim stories. The world of Tamriel is a little too full of super stock fantasy elements for me. We don’t all have to follow the rules Tolkien and D&D set out for us, guys. Elves and orcs had no place in her world. She did have magical powers but they were the vague, half-formed magical powers of a woman who never had any time to study. She had been fighting since she could hold a sword. She wanted money and security. She would have understood Scarlet O’Hara’s declaration at the end of Act I of Gone With the Wind: “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again!”
When Skyrim introduced the house-building mechanics, the half-formed storyline for Bennett took another step toward being what it is today. Bennett ends up saddled with responsibilities she doesn’t want. She ends up with an estate and people to care for, though it is an expensive endeavor and the burden rests heavily on her. But she doesn’t fight it. She accepts it, however grudgingly, because what would they do if she left?
Adding the word ‘grudgingly’ was by no means by accident. Bennett is the sort of person who stares responsibility in the face, wishes to turn away, but stands her ground because it’s the right thing to do. She knows it’s the right thing to do and Bennett accepts truth easily.
Bennett became a certain sort of fantasy hero. She’s not a bumbler-turned-hero. She’s a fearless and able fighter, gifted with strange magic, not traditionally educated but intelligent and rational nonetheless. She is a simple person with simple intentions. She isn’t rich, isn’t royalty. But she knows what she’s good at, and she does it to the best of her ability because it doesn’t make sense to her to do anything else.
And she’s far from perfect. And then my writing partner Erin came in with this other character who is the same in a lot of ways and exactly the opposite in a lot of other ways and they were beautiful as partners, illuminating each other’s strengths and failings. Then, as it does, it got a lot bigger than the kind of buddy adventure story turned Princess Bride-style romance. Some heroes are born and some are made, and most are a little of both. Her story is full of heroes and she’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Check out this page for the Bennett Quint stories already on the site and stay tuned. There are more on the way.