WFTometer V

Comixminx has devised the WFTometer, the idea of which “was to give a framework for looking at how bonkers (or not) a story’s plot was, by comparing the story to an assumed ‘average reader’s situation’. This gives a structured way of comparing stories, including the possibility of finding patterns of oddity in seemingly different stories which are perhaps odd in similar ways”. In WFTometer V, three historical stories from Jinty are put through the WFTometer. They are Bridey Below the Breadline, Slaves of the Candle and Bound for Botany Bay. The three stories also have a common thread of the heroines being victims of injustice. In the first, Bridey Brown and her father are wrongly accused of starting the Great Fire of London. In the second, Lyndy Lagtree is framed for the crime that her captor, Mrs Tallow committed. In the third, Betsy Tanner and her father fall foul of the harsh 19th century law that gets them transported. In this case they are actually guilty of the crimes that got them transported, but their crimes were of desperation and circumstance, not the black-hearted villainy that the judiciary calls it. The ratings for all three stories are very similar as the current times category has been rated “extreme”; all three heroines are in danger of physical death, so emotional, mental and physical security all have the same ratings; and current time period has been rated “big diff”. Their agencies are also very similar because of their backgrounds (class status etc). The differences in ratings mainly lie in family structure, school structure, talents, and in one case, physical location. Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 7.45.59 pm In Bridey Below the Breadline, Bridey still has her father but no immediate family or school. She and her father came to London in search of bakery work but ended up being accused of starting the Great Fire of London. As a result, Bridey has to hide her father, who was injured in the fire, while keeping ahead of the authorities, lynch mobs and using her own talent at baking to survive. And she also falls foul of unscrupulous people who take advantage of her “wanted” status to force her to work for them in a plot to assassinate Charles II. It scores a 38 on the WFTometer. Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 3.24.46 pm Slaves of the Candle scores slightly higher at 40. The main difference here is that while Bridey still has her father, Lyndy has no family or parents in sight, so it can be safely assumed she is an orphan with no family. Lyndy starts off as a maidservant who witnesses a crime committed by Mrs Tallow. To silence her, Mrs Tallow kidnaps her and brings her to her candle-making slave racket, where she holds girls prisoner in a basement and forces them to make candles. To make doubly sure of neutralising Lyndy, Mrs Tallow frames her for the crime, confident that the substantial price that is now on Lyndy’s head will deter her from escaping. However, Lyndy is determined to escape, shut down the racket and prove her innocence, but spends a lot of time being constantly recaptured from failed escape attempts. The escape attempt that does succeed leads Lyndy to discover that Mrs Tallow is out to steal the Crown Jewels. Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 7.47.51 pm Bound for Botany Bay scores the highest at 48. Family-wise, Botany Bay scores lower than Slaves of the Candle because Betsy still has her father while Lyndy appears to be an orphan. And unlike the first two girls, Betsy goes to school – at least, before she is transported. The main difference is the shift in location from England to Australia when Betsy and her father are transported. This scores a “big diff”. A small difference also comes in agency in local laws. While the first two heroines had standard ratings there (despite their being on the run), Betsy’s is rated “small diff” because she not only speaks out against the harshness of the penal system during her trial but her case becomes a focal point for prison reformers. But it is not rated “big diff” because in normal circumstances Betsy is an honest girl and law-abiding citizen who would never have dreamed of the things she did to get arrested.

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11 thoughts on “WFTometer V

  1. I think your scores need checking – are you scoring 5 or 10 points per mark in the Extreme column? In Bridey and Botany Bay you are using the lower value but in Candle you are using the larger number of points.

    It’s funny, it really does add up, doesn’t it? Having a historical period story already takes the reader out of their environment right away, and then in the case of Botany Bay, we also travel huge distances and see an even more different setting and people. But a historical story is an accepted sort of genre and doesn’t feel half as bonkers as the slavery or mind-control stories, even though it can also be quite extreme.

    1. Something is wrong with the formula for “extreme” in the template. It is *5 when it should be *10. I amended it for Candle, but I must have forgotten to correct it for the other two. All done now.

      Hmm, we don’t have an entry for Slaves of the Candle, do we? I had to make do with its entry at Blupoblog. I have a reasonable but not complete run of the story. How about you?

      1. You’re right, I’ve just checked my template – apologies 😦

        No, we don’t have an entry for Slaves of the Candle. I have an incomplete run too, not sure how many I have. I do have the ending though, I’m sure. I’ll check and see.

        Right now we only have one more post and then it’s the 300th! I have a celebration post being written for the 300th.

        1. I see you are planning to do more cover entries too. Is one of them going to be the post before the 299th? If so, perhaps I should not put up any more entries in the meantime.

          Two I do have planned are ones for a Lindy summer special and a Penny summer special I have acquired, and one more Jinty annual entry. I’ll put those on hold until the 300th is done.

          I do have the ending for Slaves of the Candle. How about we check out the ones we have and see if there are any gaps we can fill?

          1. Yes, I have one more cover post for 1974 that is nearly ready to go, so it’s probably easiest if I finish that and the 300th post over this weekend and post them both during that time. I will also check out my issues of Slaves of the Candle too. It will be interesting to see the Summer Specials for the other titles!

  2. I do have all the episodes of ‘Slaves of the candle’, If you need scans of any of the episodes, just let me know!

    1. Thank you. I don’t know whether which of us will do the entry, but it will be nice to fill some gaps.

      1. I have just checked and I do have all the episodes of Slaves, so I was wrong in thinking I had an incomplete set at that point. I can do a post on it but perhaps you would like scans of it yourself in any case? which ones are you missing, and then between me and Marc we can supply them.

    1. I’ve only come up with it recently – a year ago or so – and I don’t know of anyone doing so. I guess however the reason I did it in the first place was a vague idea that this might have been part of the sort of underlying thought process that writers went through when coming up with stories, though not exactly in this form of course. No-one has said so though 🙂

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