4. Tell us about one of your first stories/characters!
Since in my mind I had two first novels... can I talk about them both?
My first attempt at a novel (when I was about nine or ten years old) was called Return to Romelia. It centered around a girl named Leslie who was transported by a unicorn though a magical portal in a diamond to the fantasy kingdom of Romelia, where she discovered that she was the long-lost eldest daughter of the king and queen, and that she must save the kingdom. The main reason I quit was because I couldn't figure out how on earth she would do that (and because my young mind finally realized how cliche it was). I decided at that point that while I had some talent for writing, I didn't have enough talent yet, and until I had a good idea, I should give up trying to write fiction.
So I did, for the most part (even though the whole time I was sneakily scribbling the first pages of novel wannabes). I didn’t entertain any serious novelist thoughts, though, until I joined Homeschoolblogger and found a whole host of teens my age who were writing their own novels – and who were doing a pretty good job! I congratulated them on their success in comments I left, but secretly I burned with jealousy and found myself wishing that I had a novel I was working on. So I waited impatiently for a good idea to come around.
Even so, the beginning of my second ‘first novel’ came unexpectedly. It was right after I’d finished my schoolwork for the day, and I was messing around on my parents’ old laptop and decided to start writing a random story. But that random story became more interesting as I typed it – a man lying hidden watching a road and thinking he must warn the king of something, and a princess who longed for adventure and was vaguely troubled by things she saw in her own life? I had to find out more.
The man became Byeron, a prophet who condemned the savage religion that enslaved the kingdom, and the princess became Faeryn, a girl who risked her father’s anger to free Byeron, on the condition that he would take her to meet this God he spoke of. I put in the story everything I wanted – mountains, forests, dragons, elves, nymphs, and even a great battle at the end. Faeryn embodied all the things about myself that I liked, but she was also everything that I was not. Mary-sue? Yes. Cliché in many ways? Yes. But I loved that story, and even though I often wince when I think about the faults, I still look back on it fondly. The colors and contours of that world felt so vibrant, and I could see everything clearly in my mind’s eye – more so than most of the novels I’ve written since then.
I never finished The Prophet of Aenerowaye (generally abbreviated POE, from the days when the last word started with an E. The spelling kept changing). That’s fine with me. The novel would have been a misshapen behemoth, and in any case, I learned all that I could from it. It did make it to 68,000 words, which is not a bad number at all (and more than my current WIP has at the moment). Sometimes I entertain thoughts of using the world that I created, or maybe taking one or two aspects of the story for use in some later work. Old stories are wonderful places to hunt for ideas to steal and reuse.
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