I’ve been feeling cold and unmotivated for quite a while, so today you folks get more of a fluff piece than anything really deep or serious.
For National Novel Editing Month in March and for the April edition of Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ve been working on a Young Adult (abbreviated as “YA”) fantasy novel that I’m currently calling “Faylinn,” which is the name of the world in which the story is set. (Like with Rinamathair, the name of the world is the title of the work-in-progress until I find something better.) This is… a different experience from my other writing projects because it’s a hybrid. It isn’t being written completely from scratch like Mariner Sequence, but it also isn’t a fan fiction outline that got revamped and then written from scratch. Faylinn is based on an already-complete piece of fan fiction, but I’m swapping out character names and adjusting the plot and world to be its own thing. I am also generating new content, but at the same time, I’m rereading the preexisting piece of work and doing major cuts and rewrites to it. Maybe that isn’t the best project to choose for Camp NaNoWriMo… but I just can’t do Mariner Sequence justice right now. I don’t want to spend all of my writing time on stories that aren’t as near and dear to my heart, but I also know when I’m not in a fit state for a particular story. So, fluff it is.
Working on Faylinn has also shown me how much names can be both inspiration and stumbling block. I spent over two weeks combing through the Encyclopedia of Fairies in World Folklore and Mythology and the Encyclopedia of Giants and Humanoids in Myth, Legend, and Folklore (both by Theresa Bane) to find species names. Then I spent at least another week going through BehindTheName.com and other online dictionaries to find appropriate names for the characters. It was fun… but it was also a stumbling block. I couldn’t start writing in earnest until I had those names down and that ate into a lot of time. I feel like having the right names is very important to get the feel of the story right, but it also hovered on the edge of procrastination rather than legit research.
Still, I can feel Faylinn slowly shedding the skin of its former plot and characters, metamorphosing into something new. It’s a little tricky because it’s supposed to be YA with seventeen-year-old protagonists (which can be hard for a 30-year-old to write convincingly). And the characters, despite being humanoid, aren’t actually humans. They’re called the “Ellu,” which is the Babylonian word for gods or spirits and means “the shining ones.” They are my altered version of the fae or fairies from different mythologies, although I tried to use those preexisting fae as a springboard for inspiration rather than a crutch. There are several different subsets of Ellu, each with their own look and culture, which is fun to play with; I do love me some world-building! But I also have to make sure that they are alien enough to be interesting but familiar enough that readers can form an emotional connection to them. So we’ll see how that goes.
Until next time, readers, keep hoping that spring will arrive soon!