(Image: Chapter 9, Pelanca City)
Chapter 9 is now up and ready to read. Bennie finally gets to see Pelanca and so do you, via both her description and the chapter picture above. There's so much I love in this chapter: inside jokes, a first glimpse of a character, and so much of my 8-year-old self's imagination.
This is the first chapter picture of a small few that I did not redo for the relaunch. I like the original too much. I drew it across three sheets of computer paper (I'm so high-tech) back around Thanksgiving, 2006.
But the concept of Pelanca actually predates these books. Its actual creation date was closer to 1996 than 2006, as was Gemini's homeworld, Dwendol. Back in those days I drew more than I wrote down, and often the stories I made up were drawn out on my Magna Doodle as I went along, rather than actually sketched out. If any written form of the Tales of Dwendol survives I don't know about it, but those stories still exist in my mind, and some of them inspired my early-teenage gel pen drawings:
(Image: Concept from The Tales of Dwendol. Belenedain, a fairy-sorceress with butterfly wings, stands on a mountain above a forest, with a phoenix. Image rendered on black paper with gel pens.)
Pelanca evolved a great deal, from an underground city on Dwendol to its own plane of reality, enabling interstellar travel without space ships, and I've always loved the fact that these crazy things my childish mind came up with found a home in my novels.
So keep your old concepts. Don't scrap anything; just put it away. You might find it fits right another day.
If 8-year-old me had known...
(Image: Chapter 8, Gregk the Demon)
It always amazes me how quickly this arc in Bennie's story goes, because when I first began writing the book, it took me ten months to get her from going through the trauma of seeing/fighting the demon to facing her fears over him. That's what happens when you're writing a novel at the same time you're writing fanfiction, and in high school. That is, in fact, why I gave up fanfiction. I knew as long as I wrote fanfiction my own work would suffer.
It's a fine line we nerdy writers walk. On one hand we have our own stories to tell. On the other hand, writing our own versions and continuations of stories already begun, and beloved by many, is so much fun, and I might add a confidence booster. I've never had as many readers of my original work as I did my fanfiction, at least not ones that have reached out to me. And I will be the first to admit that it was the positive reaction to my fanfiction (which was terrible) that encouraged me to write on my own. If it weren't for fanfiction, I wouldn't be writing this blog right now.
Some people only want to write fanfiction. That's great. Some people think fanfiction is a waste of time. If you want to think that, well, OK, but let me debate with you. There's the superhuman writers who can do both--you're amazing. And then there's those of us who start with one and end with the other. More power to us.
Whatever you write, fanfiction or original, keep writing! It's worth it. But if you're a fanfiction writer who wants to go original, but you feel uncertain, don't be afraid. Putting yourself out there can be terrifying, and not all of us get to be J.K. Rowling, but if it's in your heart, it'll find its way into someone elses.'
(Image: Chapter 7, Bennie's desk with several scribbled out sketches piled on top.)
I'm watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban right now, while I type up this blog and prep the new chapter on Wattpad for release. Funny bit of trivia: I started writing the Guardians trilogy the same summer that movie came out. I still need to share the origin story with y'all, but I already know what chapter I want to use that blog post for!
Watching these films can be a bit cathartic for me. I don't have time to read the books over and over so when I get in a mood I pop in a DVD and let it play in the background. Either way, the story takes me back to good times and memories I'll always cherish, and those memories keep me going even when times are tough. It's a good way to release some of the emotion that builds up as they days' stresses build up.
Writing is the same way. Almost as soon as I was able to write I started using it as an outlet for my thoughts, my ideas, creative or otherwise, and emotions. Anyone who knows me knows I have a lot of those. Hah! But I definitely recommend it. Even if you just keep a journal, writing the energy out of your system is super healthy.
And if you really don't like writing, you can always try music. It doesn't have to have words, in fact, the greatest music doesn't! Or if you can't carry a tune or play an instrument, take a page out of Bennie's and Tim's books and try drawing it out. I've never been a great artist but sometimes it's all I can do.
After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. Try it next time you feel like you're ready to escape your own skin!