So here we are finally introduced to the story’s villain, Declese. I think there’s only two more major characters left that have not been introduced yet. Well, at least that get introduced int he first chapter.

It has been far too long since I’ve really tried painting the background, and this one came out very, very well. Okay, a few elements didn’t come out right, a few things are shaped wrong, blah blah blah. But the background actually looks painted, more painted than any other background I’ve made. This last panel does more to represent what I want Maytia to look like than any other piece that I have done. (See it isolated and enlarged here.)

…And it is the very last panel within Maytia for a long time to come.

Okay, maybe not quite, but there is very little left in this chapter, and very little in the next chapter. But even with all that is yet to come, it really feels like I didn’t get it right until the very end. So now I want to go back and re-paint all the backgrounds I’ve made for Maytia. I don’t have the time to do so, but I want to.

So I have a few things I want to say about the “things couldn’t be worse” cliche. (Or trope, or whatever you want to call it.)

I wouldn’t exactly say that I hate it, but it drives me up the wall because I see people using it wrong. Ideally a person miserably declares “things can’t be worse” and then suddenly things are worse. It has this air of fate itself looking upon their statement as a challenge, and then replying with a simple reminder: things could always be worse.

But what I keep seeing are people writing this to happen after someone says “things could be worse.” And that is a terrible and sightless thing to do with writing. The difference is attitude. Someone grumbling and complaining about their situation necessitates correction; they are being punished for their bad attitude. But if someone is humbly acknowledging their situation and declaring that things could be worse, what they are really saying is, in the face of their adversity: “I am glad for how things have turned out; I am thankful for what I do have.” Is this an attitude that needs to be corrected? No, that is the correct attitude. Fate does not need to step in and remind them of what they still have, because they still remember it.

Now one could argue a few semantics of the language of the person. Someone could indeed say “things could be worse” without the spirit of humility; stating that phrase while meaning the intent of grumbling about their situation. But this is akin to when people say “I could care less.” (Duh, of course you could care less; we all know this. The phrase is “I couldn’t care less;” that is the phrase that actually has meaning and indicates how very little you care.) And the use of that phrase is a gross error that drives people up the wall and necessitates correction in people’s writing and speech. Likewise how I feel about writers who slap on more challenges when their characters say “things could be worse.” When I see that, I feel the writer deserves a swift kick in the nuts.

But to add to the character’s challenges when they shallowly declare “things can’t be worse” is fine, and I haven’t come close to thinking this is overused or wrong.