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on the power of showing up

note: I wrote this post in April of 2019 (pre-COVID). It's been sitting in my drafts for quite a while, but I think it's time for it to see the light of day. It's been helpful for me to reread over the past few months, especially as I continue to try to make an effort to write, and I hope it can be helpful to you, too. i got an invite to a writers' group a few months ago, and i had never felt like more of a fraud in my life. it had been months, if not years, since i'd felt like a writer. the proverbial well of words in my heart had dried up, it seemed, and i wasn't sure if it was ever coming back. i agreed to go out of a sense of helplessness—i'd identified as a writer ever since i could remember. if i'm not a writer, who am i?  i told myself that it was important to show up and act like a writer even when i didn't feel like one, because even though i hadn't been writing, i reassured myself, i still was a writer. but sometimes the words f

Fantasy, Writer's Doubt, and Inspiration

I've gone through a dry period in my writing lately when it comes to writing fantasy. I don't think I've written fantasy for the past couple of years. Looking back, I wonder why on earth I didn't.

Reese's Pieces was my first novel I finished, but it is certainly not fantasy. It contained a girl, coffee, her family, friends, and life. No swords or castles, definitely. (Also, I need to work on finding a better title for it. :P)

Before that, I had another work-in-progress. When I was 12, I started writing Talryn's Tale and continued it for at least 2 years until I hit a road block. Sadly, I stopped. I still have it in its entirety, but something has been stopping me from writing it. I'm not sure why.

Honestly, I think I didn't write fantasy because I started to doubt myself and my writing. I decided that my writing wasn't good enough to compare to C.S. Lewis or Tolkien. (Yeah, comparing a first draft to a masterpiece that has been edited and published is not a good idea.)



Enter NaNoWriMo this year. I've been thinking about fantasy again, and something stirred in my heart. I decided that, once again, I'd try my hand at fantasy. Just to see if I can.

I'm not sure if it's a mistake or a good idea to attempt a fantasy novel during NaNo. We shall see. But one thing I do know: my characters have been real again, more real than they have been for a long time.

Yes, my characters from Reese's Pieces were real, but there's something different this year. Something I can't quite put my finger on. I guess I'd call it inspiration. There's something more exciting about writing fantasy than anything else. Something exciting about creating your own worlds and molding them into whatever you want. I feel more free in my writing here. I can write freely. Yes, Riah can carry a sword if she wants, and she can also wear sneakers if she likes. There are no constraints.

Fantasy is typically set in a medieval type world. I have no problem with that - so is mine. However, I'm looking to add unique elements to this story, stuff that isn't normally in fantasy novels. I want my novel to be different, in a good way.

A couple of days ago, I was reading over some of my old blog posts at my Wordpress blog, and I came across this one. It was about Talryn and the other characters from that story, and I loved it. They were the backbone of the story, they were vivid, they were different. They were almost real.

I've been plotting my characters the past few days, since they're the most important element of the story, and they're coming alive in a way that hasn't happened since Talryn's Tale. I'm coming up with snappy bits of dialogue, even before I've set pen to paper. The characters are dictating the story. And that's the way I think it should be. Writing a novel is like growing a plant: You have to let it grow.

So, here they are: a few of my characters, complete with dialogue and outfits and personality.






Tell me about your characters now. Are they coming alive yet? How is your inspiration-level this year?

Comments

  1. Glad to make your day! Hmm. I like this post. I've never doen NaNoWriMo before, though I love writing. I have full time school and I have a large family, so it may not work. I may give it a shot though. But I love your idea of pulling out the stops and allowing anything into your story - be it sneakers or swords or anything. I'm ging to keep that in mind. Thanks!

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  2. I dig Riah :)

    Thank you for introducing us to them :]

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  3. Love this!

    Nice to meet all of you, especially you, Chasiel. Sounds like my kind of girl! :)

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