The Making of The Monarch Papers - Episode Six


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We’re back after a short break and we’ll running right through to fragment sixteen. Hold onto your hats.

This week’s show notes are brought to you by Ackerly Green’s own Devin!


In this week’s episode, CJ, Simon, and Jonny discussed Fragment Six: Galluskulk. Jonny joined in Fragment Six, to create the Map of Fairyland puzzle. Fragment Six was a pivotal part of The Monarch Papers, in terms of character development. In the span of three or four weeks, Deirdre found Cole’s blog, they began a mutual flirtation and planned to meet in person, Lauren’s involvement in The Monarch Papers caused The Cagliostro to fly her (not in in airplane, of course) to Turin, and Martin Rank reached out to The Mountaineers directly, for the first time. Many of these characters are still major fan favorites. This heightened activity occurred partially because the fragment took place at the end of 2016, right before TMP took a break, and it was agreed by everybody at Ackerly Green that it would be good to end on several cliffhangers.


CJ talked about the creative utility of saving good ideas, whether or not you know how you’re going to use them. This was the case with Bernard Sleigh’s 1918 map of Fairyland, as well as Anne of Brittany’s unicorn tapestries. Later, when certain works of art were needed to tie the story together, it made perfect sense to involve these historical characters in the Magiqverse. CJ noted that, in the creation of the clues, he enjoyed learning more about children’s stories which were well known at the time of the creation of the map, but have since faded into obscurity.


Jonny and CJ talked about how clues, including poems written by Jonny (such as The Chicken and the Fox, and a poem about Ulysses), were planted in Sullivan Green’s journal. Sometimes she would be able to find them, and sometimes she wouldn’t. Gradually, readers determined that the clues were tied to certain locations on the Fairyland map.


This fragment was planned out in greater detail, compared to the earlier phases. Because of this, CJ, Jonny, and Simon agreed that this was one of the more successful fragments. Unlike in the planning of some earlier fragments, in Fragment Six, much planning took place which was never used in the puzzle. For example, at one point, the guilds were assigned to different parts of the Fairyland map, though readers were never told about this. On the other hand, there was less puzzle solving in subsequent fragments, and so this sort of intensive planning wasn’t never necessary again, afterwards. The decision to focus more on character development and less on puzzles was in large part determined by the strong reader response to the aforementioned character development, during this fragment. Also, as CJ pointed out, neither he, Simon, or Jonny are puzzle-makers by profession, outside of Ackerly Green. Therefore, it was agreed all around that, while the puzzles had been successful, it was more creatively invigorating for them to focus on characters, henceforth. CJ felt that after this fragment, readers began more deeply to understand that the wonder and fantasy of the Magiqverse is grounded in our actual world, unlike other universes which are in totally fictional worlds. This is because Bernard Sleigh, among other characters, are real historical figures.


The Buffy podcast :deirdreexcited:

As much as I love this podcast, I also really love Buffy, so I’m very excited that you’re actually considering doing this.