I do that a lot. Sometimes I enjoy it, most times; I cringe, I cringe so hard that I have toyed with the notion of completely deleting my account and destroying all records of my attempt at writing.
After all, I’m not a creative writing student, but fanfiction has been a big part of my life since, well, I was in secondary school. I posted my first ever chapter on a forum that was called BBRae4Eva, I think. And since then, fanfiction has been an anonymously accessed, never before announced activity that I take part it. I’ve written and published online 16 fanfics of moderate success from about 2004 to 2014 (with numerous unfinished sequels, prequels and one-shots that lie in the fiction folder on my desktop).
Now, why am I dragging myself through this 90K+ worded romantic adventure between my favourite crack pairing: Naruto’s Uchiha Sasuke and Hyuuga Hinata in a 6th form AU?
I’m about to start writing again. This time, not fanfiction. 100% original plot, 100% original characters.
This year I’m taking part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo to those in the know), it’ll be the second time I’ll be participating. And unlike last year, I plan on actually reaching the 50K mark within the month. So this is like a cram revision session for next month’s “test”.
Last year, I started and got most-a-ways through a post-industrial fantasy tale, based in a little town called Silverbank. I was inspired by a friend’s short story that I had read in my final year of university: in her story, education was the class separator (and to be honest, even in our society that is the case often more than not).
In my take, I followed a large family of seven, the Darzis. Aida the mother, a fiercely jealous woman still hiding grief and taking it out on her eldest surviving child. Kamal the semi-absent father, a seemingly ordinary construction worker who hides his ties to underground political extremism with the profile of an alcoholic. Taking inspiration from my family I gave all the siblings nicknames that were so often used, their legal names were strange words they had to remind themselves to answer to, which were only brought out through vexing parental lectures and legal processes.
There was Sugar; the eldest sister, beautiful and with a tragic past & present (& possible future). Sixes; the big brother, named for the 6 facial scars on his face (punishment for stealing from an orchard) dating the identical twin brother of his little sister’s beau. Sissy; Aida’s favourite and personality twin, big appetite for romance and about to embark on a shotgun wedding. Sweets; the MC (middle child AND main character), at the ripe age of 16 (perf YA MC age), entering the workforce and trying to not get romantically distracted by the other half of the golden twins of attractiveness while getting involved in all of the sibling drama and some of dad’s extreme politics. Sparkles; the youngest daughter with crippling low self-esteem but high expectations that depend on her above-average intelligence. Shin; the sweet baby who becomes traumatized when forced to witness the outcomes of one of his father’s plots.
As you can see, I gave myself a lot to work with. Maybe too much to work with…There was supposed to be romance, conspiracy, drama, jealousy, death, suspicion. I probably got to slightly introduce these plot devices and maybe get a bit of the Darzis’ struggles in the 42K words that I had managed to splurge out. Let me tell you, Unnamed NaNoWriMo14 was what happened when you try to cram a seven-novel series into one.
This year I’m not going to do that.
I’m going to write more simply. I know my genre: my old faithful High Fantasy… but with a twist.
Yes, it’s going to feature Medieval inspired European background. Instead of the foreign brown savages with strange customs and social structures that get introduced to the main character who becomes the very best, like no one ever was, somethings are getting flipped around perception wise. My new MC, the beautiful Kewoya’ana is transported via magical portal to a world of stone turrets and corset-wearing courtesans, “dashing” knights, and gets to overthrow some totally un-righteous rulers in order to set up a treaty between worlds.
And now that I’ve explained the basic plot, I’m really hoping that it doesn’t end up too much like Wurst and Feist’s Empire Trilogy set in the Riftwar Cycle.