Project Reflection #1

This week has given me a good sense of what it is like to edit a wiki. It is much more work than I thought it would, especially when the content is coming from a series of books with many pages.

First off, I would like to show this:

Notice I am the only editor

Notice I am the only editor

As of now, it seems I will be the only one contributing to the AbaratWiki. I like this prospect because it will be easier to show the things I have done. What I have done so far is this:

1. John Mischief

2. The Sea of Izabella

3. Mendelson Shape

These are the three articles I have made and edited myself. The first article I considered to be the most important because of reasons outlined in this post. He is the first mystical character introduced to the main character Candy. Apart from the prologue, he is the first character from the Abarat to make an appearance. In this post I talk about the thing that makes the Abarat, well, the Abarat. It is a sea; the Sea of Izabella. The story would not be the story if not for Mama Izabella. It needed its own article about all its wonders, good or bad. In this post, I talk about the first villain, the first monster introduced. He is a character who we are simply meant to fear because of his grotesque nature. He sings a lullaby about death. He has swords built into his skin. And he is the first character we see that would harm our protagonist Candy.

I feel I’ve made a decent impact on the wiki. I’ve gotten a taste of what it’s like to be the main editor and the work it takes for even a small article. I have not yet figured out each and every font or template option, but there are many more articles that need to be made that will show me the various ways. I think I’ve kept good on my contract for a grade, but only minimally. I underestimated how many pages I will have to flip through to make the wiki better.

I think the given information I have created so far isn’t so spoiling. I figure that if someone is visiting the sight, they will be either past book one or already started on it. The goal for this next week is summarizing the books, and the character’s travels with respect to not spoiling them for perspective readers.

Creating A Monster

“O little one,
My little one,
Come with me,
Your life is done.
Forget the future,
Forget the past.
Life is over:
Breathe your last.”

This nursery rhyme by Clive Barker is sung by a menacing character in chapter 7 of Abarat. It is one of the first indicators of the personality of Mendelson Shape. As the main character Candy thinks as she hears it, only a monster like Shape would have this sung to him as an infant. And she is right. She may have had little interaction with him when he sings this, but it’s enough to tell her what a dark being Shape is.

We are first introduced to Shape in chapter 6. He is standing in a grass field, and John Mischief says he is being hunted by Shape. As him and Candy hide in the tall grass, she gets her first look at the grotesque being.

The author's own painting of the character. I'm not entirely sure if Mendelson Shape can be called a man. His hands certain don't suggest it.

The author’s own painting of the character. I’m not entirely sure if Mendelson Shape can be called a man. His hands certain don’t suggest it.

He is a tall, spidery man. Or maybe he is something other than human. On his back are strange rods attached to his body that can extend. They seem to hold his weapon of choice, two swords. He is missing his right foot. I don’t recall if why he lost his foot is mentioned. Somewhere in the books no doubt it might come up. So far I’m not done with my reread, much less my notes on each and every subject.

Mendelson mentions his family at a point in the book. His mother’s name is Miasma Shape, a clue into how gruesome this family was. A miasma can be defined as a noxious atmosphere, a theory on how many plagues and diseases were spread in history. His brothers are named Nizz and Naught, though the text is unclear if Mendelson is the youngest, eldest, or middle. A clue comes in the form of his master, Christopher Carrion, Lord of Midnight’s dark warning:

“Your brothers are dead for their failures, and you will join them in the lime pit if you do not succeed in this last venture.”

His mother is presumably dead also. I have created an article about him on the AbaratWiki because he is the first antagonist that is introduced in the books. He is pursuing John Mischief, though some may sympathize because John did steal from Shape’s master. But since I’ve read each books, I know that what he stole was for a good purpose. The morality in this series isn’t so grey as others. There is dark and light, and clear divisions, in the beginning at least.

He not the true villain of the series. His role is significant, but minor when looking at the big picture. I know what happens with Mendelson’s dark travels, but I have not written them on his page yet. I will leave that for when I finish my rereads and my notes for this dark character. In the beginning we’re led to believe that his master the Lord of Midnight is the true villain. That is up for debate. 

But we’ll cross that sea when we come to it.

Creating The Sea

“Life is short

And pleasures few

And holed the ship

And drowned the crew

But o! But o!

How very blue

the sea is.”

Clive Barker has this small poem towards the beginning of Abarat. It is credited to an in-universe character. And though it’s few lines are dark, it brings one small, indisputable, and obvious truth. The sea is blue. Whether he means the color or its sad because of it just drowned a whole crew of a ship is debatable. Barker has used the sea or oceans as large plot points in other works of his, notably The Great and Secret Show and Everville. I read both when I was around fourteen to fifteen. Perhaps I shouldn’t have. Books aren’t rated R, even when using an inter-library loan from my high school.

In The Great and Secret Show, the sea that is focused on is called Quiddity, or sometimes the Dream Sea. It is visted three times in a person’s life. Once when they sleep in their mother’s womb, once when they sleep with the one they love, and once when sleeping before dying. In the sequel Everville, Quiddity comes to prominence more as a real sea. There might be others in his writing; it’s been a while since I’ve read anything of his besides Abarat.

In Abarat, we have the Sea of Izabella. Sometimes called Mama Izabella or Mother Izabella, it is a very real, very beautiful, and very dangerous sea. Being that it is called Mama Izabella, the sea itself just might be sentient, like a omnipotent yet non-intervening goddess. She protects and guides some who need it, but lets others drown or be eaten by monsters of the deep. Boats in the Abarat are often colored red on the bottom to ward away predators like Mantizacs or “worms,” large sea serpents.

The series is all about the Islands of the Abarat. Without the Sea of Izabella, the Abarat would not have what makes it so mystical and dangerous. Mama Izabella needs it’s own article because of the emphasis placed on the sea travel. Since the sea is actually given a name, I’ve decided to classify it as both a character and geography. The article I’ve made is in its very early stages. There’s much more to say about it, but that shall have to wait until I’ve done my extensive re-reading of the books. For now, at least I have the article started for others to add if they wish.

Creating My First Article

Today begins the first large steps into the wiki clean-up! Small spoilers ahead for those of just happening to read Abarat.

My first instinct is to create a much-better summary of the first book. On the article for book one, the UK edition book cover summary is listed, and below that is an empty place for a plot summary. The UK summary does a decent job of showing the main theme of a plot; a teenage girl getting involved in a fantastic new world apart from her own conventional world. But the book cover summary is all about introducing the book and not the characters. Abarat is all about Candy’s personal journey into the strange world. It tells us that Candy has a longing inside her, but not much else. It also mentions the first Abaratian character she meets; John Mischief.

I’ve noticed something else on the wiki also. John Mischief does not have his own article. He is the very first character from the new world that Candy meets (although technically he is eight characters in one. He has seven brothers that take the form of heads on his antlers.) John Mischief is the man, if he can be called a man per se, who sets Candy on her journey. When I’m on Wikipedia, every once in a while I will see a very short article that can have a message on the bottom. It goes something like this: this article is a stub and may not fit Wikipedia’s notability standards. Well, since I am taking charge (figuratively) of the Abarat Wiki, I decided the notability standards. And every named character who appears for more than a few sentences and has a decent description will have their own article. Why? Here’s why.  Merrel is not a major character in A Song of Ice and Fire. His article around fifty words to describe him. His appearance isn’t even described. But he is in the story, and what is known about him is put on the wiki. Therefore, named characters for the Abarat Wiki will get their articles, no matter their role in the story. And since the story is not finished yet, it is not improbable that they might make a more important appearance later.

Today I’ll spend time creating John Mischief’s page, and later I’ll start on a decent book one summary.

One challenge I might find is whether or not to create separate articles for John Mischief’s seven brothers. You’d think the answer would be no, but just look…

mischief1

 

His brothers live on his antlers, and though they do have certain personality traits that distinguish them a little, I’m going to consider them one character for now.

Taking The First Swim

Hello, Abaratians.

It’s time for me to start a journey into the Sea of Izabella… I wish…

This first post is a simple introduction. My name is Dennis, and I love reading books.The Abarat series by Clive Barker is one of my favorites. I read the first book, along with other books by the author, when I was in ninth grade. Everything about it entranced me. I read it over and over. I wrote poems and songs inspired by it. I even dreamt about meeting John Mischief once. For the past three years, I’ve been writing and occasionally performing music under the moniker Child of the Hereafter, a name I chose from the book. 

This blog will be dedicated to the work I will be doing to improve the Abarat Wiki. There are countless wikis out there, but many lack the proper dedication to be truly great. When I read the current content of the Abarat Wiki, some things can make me cringe. The information can be inaccurate or worded in an awkward way. There is a lack of content altogether. It will be my mission to turn this site into a great resource for fans of Abarat everywhere. 

This will be a slow process, much like crossing a sea. And quite possibly, my true destination could be unreachable. I aim to make the site work as well as A Wiki of Ice and Fire, a site I consider to be among the greatest of fan wikis.

And so the journey begins…