Pop pop fizzle fizzle…
That’s the sound that all my projects have made while I’ve been going through a year-long identity crisis known as the post-divorce period. It’s been hell on my creativity, and a few medical issues thrown in haven’t really helped, you know? But. I’m not here to make excuses today. I’ve done enough of that in the past, and I can’t always be feeling sorry for myself or apologizing if I’m going to make any forward progress. Today I’m here to talk about my history with writing, and my renewed enthusiasm for it.
When I was younger, writing was something that just came naturally to me.
I’ve been writing since the day I learned how to put letters together to make words, even if those stories were exceedingly simplistic. When all the other kids in first grade were handing in a polished third draft, I was still working on a convoluted first draft with a full plot that managed still to get that A. In fifth grade, when myself and some of the other gifted kids in the classroom would finish our work early, we would huddle around the typewriter. We would all brainstorm, but it was my words that found the paper. In sixth grade, I discovered fanfiction, and the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and I had great fun. More than that, I invented a new, original team of Rangers, which was a huge step toward the synthesis of elements in a writer’s world that has to happen at some point to make genuine stories.
Seventh grade saw the advent of the Planetary Power Force. Originally the characters were fans of the Power Rangers, but the PPF was my very first experience with a project becoming a lot more epic than I ever intended. It grew from a very derivative series of short stories… into something I hadn’t experienced before. Suddenly I could see new possibilities, a way to shift things around, a serious need for a rewrite, and by the end of eighth grade, I had a 93-page novella. It’s not that good, but for a 13-14 year-old? I look back at it and I see so many things that are indicative of serious immaturity, but there’s not a whole lot that’s wrong with it except the incessant rambling. (Yeah, I obviously still have that problem.)
There were other ideas afterward, and this is where I learned that not every idea that you have is going to become something. Not every story has to start at the beginning. Some ideas are really going to suck and you should just let them be after they’ve made their way onto paper. I have a whole file cabinet full of abandoned ideas spanning all the way back to middle school. I should not have thrown away as much as I did before that time period, but hindsight is clearer. It would have been nice to see how I compare now to how I started out in first grade.
Then, sitting in my boring tenth grade world history class, two names came to me. Erin Allen, and Thomas Moore. These two names on paper, and an annoyance from my last shopping trip to the mall, merged and grew into my baby. You know, that one project that you can work on for twenty years and never be satisfied enough to submit for publication. I still keep Shadowfighter in the back of my mind, waiting for the right breakthrough that will help me turn it from the supernatural daydreams of an overly-religious sixteen-year-old girl into something more relevant. I think it would happen to make a fabulous successor to vampires in the Twilight niche, but not yet. There’s still some element missing that I haven’t found. Because it’s my baby, I wonder if I will ever find that element, or if I’ll be forever dissatisfied. Either way, I highly doubt that it’s going to be the first thing that I get published.
Twelve years, several creative writing classes, hours spent doing text-based roleplaying as a writing exercise, and six NaNoWriMo competitions later… I’ve started, developed, and discarded several novel ideas. Always there’s something that doesn’t work quite right, or hold my attention long enough. Sometimes I’ve done too much world-building and not enough character development, and sometimes it’s the other way around. Writing doesn’t come as naturally as it used to. Maybe that’s because I’m relying too heavily on what others say writing should be. Maybe it’s because the stresses and pressures of adult life leave me feeling too drained to continue to the end of some projects.
But there’s one project that’s quickly becoming more epic than I ever intended. The Soldaris Saga, which I will talk about in far more depth later.