Ah, the morning after. Wrote a chapter of Tallulah last night – loved it. Loved how I wrote it, the amount of time I was willing to devote to making it work, the new twists I put on it to give myself the chance to explore ideas I never got to in the first draft or its revision. Felt brave and expansive and adventurous, full of passion and enthusiasm that I had started to fear I’d lost touch with forever.
And then today I woke up and asked myself what the flying fuck I thought I was doing how could I make all those sweeping changes with no thought to the consequences I had a fucking BOOK written and all I had to do was KEEP REVISING IT and it would be DONE and FINISHED and I could WRITE SOMETHING THE FUCK ELSE what the FUCK WAS I THINKING
Well, that was the morning. This is the afternoon, and after some further consideration I’m feeling good about it again. I was afraid that my pre-existing design for Tallulah would get in the way of trying to start over anew – and it did, though not in any way I realised it would until after I’d written it. Which is fine. Eliminating one of the key plot points ended up weakening the strength of the chapter’s events, and I hadn’t considered that. But it’s not as big of a deal as I thought this morning; I just have to throw in a couple of lines here and there to balance things out and then … roll with it. Because this is a new story. I think it’s a better story. It’s still taking shape, because I’m writing this on the fly, but that also means it will – hopefully – be much simpler, have less moving parts, and allow me to finally get the chance to try out the original concept of the story that I had some four years ago. I’m not saying that concept is a goldmine or anything, but I need to know what’s in it that’s worth running with.
I also cut out some extraneous characters who were originally in the chapter, and I feel good about that. I wasn’t expecting to, but it’s reassuring to know that I can pretty much completely erase a couple of my “darlings” and actually not care that much. Weight-loss is one of my goals for this year, so I guess it makes sense that it should extend to my writing as well. Feels pretty great.
What also feels pretty great is returning to some of my old stories with this newfound zeal for writing-on-the-fly. And when I say “old stories”, I mean the self-insert wish-fulfillment fan-fiction of LoTR, The Legend of Zelda, Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z, Final Fantasy, Harry Potter and myself that I started writing when I was 14 and decided that not only did I want to write books to tide myself and my friends over between Harry Potter books, I wanted to take Harry Potter and put myself, my at-the-time-best-friend Wickham and various other franchises I was obsessed with into a blender and write the results.
This story was entitled Realm of the Myth, which I have spoken about a bit before on this blog. It was so bad that, even at age 14, I came to the realisation that I literally had nowhere to go with it. It was iterative, it was dull, and after chapter 2 I couldn’t think of where I could possibly go with it – so I didn’t. I quit. I wrote other things, other things that I also want to return to, especially as they would work really well as comics and I want an excuse to make myself learn to draw better. And then when I was 15 I came back with a vengeance; inspired by Dragon Ball Z even more than the first time I decided that the premise would revolve around twelve elemental dragons that would bestow upon my author-avatar a unique magical weapon each a-la Zelda, and also combine to create an Ultimate Dragon that would grant any wish.
That ended up turning into a personal, mythologized journal as I kept stuffing my constantly-updating life events into it (funny how life keeps doing that huh), spiralled out of control with Matrix sequel-esque over-philosophising bullshit that erased any trace of plot, vibrancy or, y’know, enjoyment from the project, and ultimately culminated in my realising in 2012 that it had become a toxic habit that I needed to drop. Which was validated when I did drop it, enjoying an explosion of creative energy that lasted for a solid four months now that I was no longer obligated to keep pumping energy into a dead, rusty, zombie-infested reactor.
Then last year I picked up some of the most fun pieces and tried to turn them into enough of a premise to make a Nanowrimo project out of, and I’m still in the process of doing that, and I’m honestly looking forward to getting started on it again. Needs some smoothing out and still has some old inconsistencies rattling around, but it’s getting there.
That’s not what I’m excited about.
What I’m excited about came to me while trying to read The Queen of the Tearling, which so far I find utterly frustrating because I want it to be good, and some parts of it I really do like, but they’re parts that the book doesn’t seem to want to take advantage of at all. It felt like a vanity project (I’m one to talk, I’ve never had to write for my supper outside of university), and it reminded me of my own high fantasy vanity project back in its self-fan-fic infancy, where one of the characters I’ve turned into a red-herring love-interest who is actually a huge creep used to be my author-avatar’s designated love-interest rival.
A rival who was a fucking Elven Ranger, who was dazzlingly attractive, fit, strong, good at fighting and generally glamorous yet also insanely jealous of my author-avatar’s deeply intimate emotional connection to the designated love-interest Elven Princess that it turned him into a slobbering jealousy demon and holy shit I can’t believe I never recalled that this was a thing that I did until today.
And that wasn’t all! My author-avatar – name of Sajen by the way, because it’s like Jason except anyway you get it – also had the unrequited affections of a secretly-attractive bookish girl, who literally lived next door to him, whose entire reason for existence consisted of hoping he’d notice her one day and return her feelings, and when he didn’t she got super depressed and turned into a Goth because he didn’t like-like her (though to be fair that was also because she had issues with her mother, because I decided that family issues were the same thing as a personality).
And also had a personal pixie guardian who was uber-hawt and completely devoted her immense Faerie magic to helping him with study, teaching him Faerie martial arts and increasing his self-esteem, to the point of pulling a Tinkerbell from Hook and growing to full-size on the day of his wizarding graduation ceremony just so that he would look good walking down the street with someone as impossibly attractive as her and also gave him advice about girls (which was all ultimately written by 14-year-old me anyway so I’m not sure how I thought that was going to work out) (maybe I thought if I made her say it it would come true or something) (maybe I thought she was real) (shut up you can’t prove anything).
And also warranted the attention of the Dark Lord of the Orcish Hordes, who was another pretty-boy Elf like the ranger guy, only this time a Goth Elf who was a Dark Lord and wore Black which made him badass and he just wanted to kill Sajen so hard because Sajen was awesome.
And ALSo had a special Elf tree that would resurrect him if he ever died, because also he was half-Elf and ridiculously good-looking as well, and actually kind of looked exactly identical to the Dark Lord of the Orcish Hordes just with different hair, who looked like an anime pretty-boy version of me, and later on they became soul-buddies and had witty banter while they killed evil together because Sajen turned him into a good guy, a good guy who never disagreed with him unless it was funny, never got jealous or bitter at playing second-fiddle after being a Dark Fucking Lord and never moved in on his crushes. Elf bros before believable characterisation.
AND ALSO had, in addition to tutelage by the most powerful wizards to ever exist, secret super-strength that was connected to his courage and inherent goodness that allowed him to punch a dragon the size of a town so hard that its skull caved in
… And also had:
- A wizard’s staff that he could fly on like a hover-board and control with telekinesis
- Unlimited free and immediate access to the Magi Council’s limitless supply of money
- A growing collection of super-powered elemental weapons he gained from defeating each of the twelve elemental dragons
- A Draycoon familiar (half-dragon, half-raccoon, do not ask me why I thought that was cool I was 14) who was also secretly a super-hot demon prince in disguise and was just as much of a sycophantic wing-man to him as his personal pixie assistant (they ended up getting married and adopting Sajen, to memory, how many issues can one 14-year-old have)
- The power to summon a giant ice-wolf demon bound to his will
- The power to transform into a rabbit-demon with fire powers (based off my Chinese Zodiac sign, the Fire Rabbit)
- The power to transform into a minotaur-ish creature only really attractive with earth powers and even more super-strength than normal (based off my Greek Zodiac sign, Taurus)
- The power to transform into an Elf spirit through his connection to his resurrection-tree that gave him the power to conjure tree-fire (don’t ask), teleport, turn ethereal, heal himself and others, fly, use the Force, and had most of the same super-strength and speed of his other two transformations and got awesome glowing tattoos
- Natural Elven super-magic that was better than human magic because humans lived in cities and had shitty magic because they lived in cities shitty fucking humans go fuck yourself I’M TOO SPECIAL TO BE ONE OF YOU
- The power to Fuse with his uber-hawt older woman pixie personal assistant and become a Demigod with wings and both of their powers combined and then increased a bit because I’d just discovered what the word “gestalt” meant and was excited for an excuse to use it in conjunction with my own self-appreciation
AND ALSO WAS ORDAINED BY THE FUNDAMENTAL PHYSICS OF THE FUCKING UNIVERSE TO BE THE CHOSEN ONE BUT THERE WErer oTHERE CHOSeN OneS BEFOre him buT HE WAS THE TRUE CHOSEN ONE and just …
How the fuck am I not writing this?
How can I ever live with myself if I don’t write this?
It’s so beautiful.
Earlier this year, or possibly late last year, I was gripped by the desire to write a “male version of Twilight“. I was going to get all deconstructive and clever about it, make social commentary about gender roles and stereotypes, toxic masculinity and the New Patriarchy that disguises itself as the Sensitive New-Age Guy and still ultimately relies on the oppression and objectification of women, that sort of thing
FUCK that. This is the male Twilight I was looking for; it was right under my nose the whole time and I simply didn’t notice. Well I’m fucking noticing now.
I seriously feel so bad for that Elven Ranger character, he was actually kinda cool once upon a time and now he’s doomed to be a creepy asshole a-la Dimitri from Vampire Academy and get disemboweled in the first book.
I mean I don’t know if I could actually get through writing something like this now, seeing as I’m slightly less insecure and slightly more self-aware, but there’s still something hilarious about the exaggeratedness of the premise – and the fact that I really do want to see a “male version of Twilight“, and would be quite proud to put my name to it. I wonder what that says about me.
In the meantime I should really be writing this Masters proposal. I guess that’s self-appreciation of another kind.