Author Reflection

I don’t know why I like doing things like this. Maybe it’s just to make a statement of what I was thinking at a period and time after completing a story to a certain point.

 

Long: Post Warning.

I like to ramble, so you’ve been warned

 

You ever get an idea to write something. Something you wanted to do because it’s something you just want to try doing no matter how much you know what you are working on isn’t for everyone or anyone for that matter. And you write it anyway because it interests you, the writer because you just want to write it. Yeah that’s Hy-Ruh-Ha and probably most of my stories it seems as of the last three years. Hy’Ruh-Ha seems likes poster child of this. To be honest this story was never intended to be a novel. It was around actually chapter 6 where it all ended. I didn’t have Soletus’s arch going on in the story. Yet the intention of writing about Soletus and Mien was really to provide some character development for Soletus.

Soletus and Mien are secondary characters in the actual novel project this entire world spawned. Mien was the most developed of the two. Soletus wasn’t. He was all very blank and I needed some idea who he was and thus spawned probably one of the world’s most boring fantasy novels I’ve ever created. Of course, I don’t find it boring. I find it rather fascinating that I wrote something that satisfied my needs of wanting to play around with character and less on adventure. Such things aren’t always what I want to read about or write about, however, I get the impression that most people rather have their epic adventures with human characters. And this story isn’t that. It’s a bit of an exploration with story.

I noticed something that I’m not sure why I never noticed at all until I wrote Hy’Ruh-Ha and that is people tend to write the things that they like to read. They like vampire romance, so they write vampire romances. They like superheroes, they write superhero novels. I mean whatever is popular, they write these stories relating to it and I don’t do that. I always write the stories I want to read and what haven’t I seen yet. And I write that story whether or not they fit into any genre out there. It’s a strange thing and I hope that I might remedy that one day but I really enjoyed writing this way and Hy,Ru-Ha I really liked.

My one misgiving about it all is that I wish I wrote it better in terms of technical ability which is something I lack and I’m not sure when I’ll gain  it. There are a few chapters in here that make me cringe a little and I do plan to re-write those cringe parts later. But, I think I wrote what I set out to do. And for once in my life this story has a bit of a theme. It’s actually in the title.

Hy’ruh-ha is a phrase in the story. An old phrase that means to “rise above” as Solgard says tells Lyndon all the way in ch. 29.  Soletus is obviously trying to rise above Oeric and Mien is trying to rise above himself. I think perhaps I could’ve done this more dramatically if I set Soletus and Mien on an adventure. I mean its fantasy so therefore adventure is a bit of a standard. However, in the early stages of planning this as a novel, I thought about it. However, I couldn’t think of a single logical circumstance to get Mien out of the monastery for this to happen that wouldn’t make him worse. Why did I need to? Why couldn’t I write a story with a very limited setting in a wider world?

I know someone is probably going to get on me for this but that isn’t what I wanted to write, none of it felt right so I had a more personal tale. It’s hard to do a personal tale when two people are worried about the environment around them.

I claim the story as a bit of a YA novel but at the same time, it really doesn’t do a lot of things that YA novels do. No romance, no completely inactive adults. Oeric being a very active parent strikes me as being odd compared to other YA novel parents. I guess that brings me to my first character rant.

Oeric’Sheldmartin started off being despicable. I mean if I were writing literary fiction I might have left his character alone. However, I’m not. I like happy fluffy fun reading. And as a happy fluffy fun reading, I as a read thought he come off really too harsh towards Soletus a lot. When I finally introduced him in chapter 4 it was just all sorts of wrong for both characters. Oeric was stiff and cold and Soletus was just too passive and unware of his father’s action but had some semblance of growing awareness. However, after they left the chapel it was hard for me to believe that Soletus would even get along with Oeric enough to speak with him because how caustic he was. Heck, why even hug him which Soletus does freely to family.

I wanted him strict but I didn’t want him unloving. He wasn’t very loving at all in the first draft. He felt like a caricature of a strict parent and that’s not what I was going for at all.  You know the bryonic hero or as I like to call him the “moody man?” Yeah that’s Oeric. Imagine Mr. Moody after he’s grown a bit, been married a long time now and has kids. That’s Oeric base design. His backstory supplied a lot more. Sadly, I didn’t have much of a place to describe all of it given he didn’t want Soletus to know it like any good moody man would do.

I figured a moody man would be a little more strict because how over-protective and being a little poor at vocalizing his feeling and thoughts. He’s a tough and fierce father but also misguided. He never actually vocalizes that he loves his son until the end but I think you can tell just about every scene he’s in. Except the beginning because he is being a Sheldmartin. Soletus on the other hand come off being the exact opposite or maybe a bit of the same. However he was too detached and unemotional when I first wrote.

Soletus, I have to admit, was a probably one of the flattest characters I ever made in a first draft. He wasn’t reacting to anything going on. If he did have a reaction you he was like that go-getting anime hero character that seems perfectly okay with everything. Nothing fazes them. That was Soletus. In a way, I was basing him off of older Soletus who is remarkably calm in Theris’s point of view. However, I concluded Theris is a little unreliable when it comes to describing people.  He’s a bit of a personal bias.

However, Soletus is rather calm when he gets older. Like his father, he doesn’t waste energy on showing emotion when he doesn’t really need to be but unlike his father, he knows when it’s time to smile, to encourage, to relax, and to be loving. In the story, he hadn’t learned that and had to earn that ability. Knowing that and figuring out how to do that was a different story. I wasn’t sure what to do after that first draft because I never knew how to have him react to Mien. And I actually ran with even him not knowing what to do.

Soletus grows up in a different world than Mien. Never met anyone like him and I wanted him to be understanding but people don’t start off being understanding. I didn’t want him to feel like what he was doing was even worth his time. I think people probably won’t like him for it because it took Mien saving him to get him to get him to care a bit more. However, Soletus is that male youth who admires strength. He himself is a strong person and he likes to see that quality of others on some level. Then learns he likes to foster it in those who won’t gain it easily. He’ll gladly protect but he’ll teach.

And for the record, Soletus is neth. I barely even mention what it is in the story because it wasn’t the place for it. If you would like a real world comparison for understanding purposes, he’s asexual. Yes, I know, I did this before but poorly with a previous character. I decided to get up and try again. It becomes important next part and this go around I just had to drop a lot of subtle hints. I did the hints because Soletus is too young for him to become aware it that somethings different about him. It was done for a little cultural difference between elves and humans. I want them to seem human but have a few quirks. Asexuality seemed like a perfect fit for long lived beings who aren’t living in a highly sexualized culture.

Plus in all of my character creation going into Soletus’s forward story, I couldn’t see him married. He was always a bachelor for whatever reason and not interested in being married or having kids. A strange thing being in an order who supports the idea of family. And maybe for a half of second, I thought maybe I should try a queer couple with him an Mien. However, I talked myself out of it quickly because one, this story was supposed to be about friendship(it really isn’t) I would into some of the most annoying tropes that I know of and that would be an insult to Mien’s characters.

Young Mientheodric verses the older versions of him can honestly be three different characters. I categorize them as Pre-Theris Mien(Hy’ruh-ha), Theris’s Mien(Homecoming and Resolution), and Post-Uncle Mien(Risen.) Older Mien is a lot more mature, sure of himself, and just as honest as Soletus. However, Mien had to earn that ability to be the person he turns out to be. And his road is a long one. This why I didn’t fix everything with him by the end in a nice bow but I wanted to show that this character is different because growth for some people takes time. Mien is slow to mature. He’s weak but I didn’t want him to wallow in his weakness. He’s aware of the fact he’s weak and he thinks he’s not very masculine. However, he’s a bit of pride and very unaware of how bold he can be because he’s so uncertain he is. And any relationship with the attention of being romantic would’ve been more harmful to him than good at this time.

Mien was one of my most ambiguous characters I’ve created because I didn’t know. I mean I wrote somewhere is some story that I’ve never shown to that light of day describing Soletus as being neth and as Mien as being Mien because that was a joke to myself to make up my mind. Mainly I thoughts of him being neth as well and that being tied into him and his uncle. However, again, I felt like I was treading into cliche territory as I had yet to decide the type of abuser his uncle which I’m in trope territory. However, if I have to use it then I’ll use it. Mostly, I didn’t want to add to the whole, “he’s not strong, therefore, gay.”

Simply the truth, Mien is that person who doesn’t start out as the strong but it all still haunts him. He gets stronger as time goes by and I couldn’t allow for that to completely happen in the story. I mean by the end, he’s comfortable. He’s acting as he would around his sister towards Soletus and Lyndon.

And I think that’s about it. I don’t want to go down each character because this ramble is going on to four pages now and I don’t want to add another. So that’s this Thursday’s posts. Next week I’ll be starting on Wolf and then I’m going to take a two week break after that to see if I can get done with Mask. And then after that, I might take an extended hiatus to work on everything else I plan to post. So until next time,

 

-J. Ander

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