It’s hard to believe that I have been working, mentally and physically, on my precious stories for ten years. Back when the story of Lord Konstantine (the non-revised synopsis is under “My Stories”) was just beginning, I was young, dreadfully inexperienced, and a bit arrogant. OK, more than a bit.
Konstantine’s story has evolved hundreds of times and is now undergoing yet another major evolution. Why? Because I keep growing up. Ten years ago, an important moment happened to me. I was over at one of my friend’s house when my friend offered a draft of her own story for me to read.
You mean to tell me that we can be writers, too? That was the biggest eye opener for me when I read her story. I wrote many one page stories as part of my schoolwork but never found that it was enjoyable. Until I read her story. I realized with excitement that I could at least try my hand at it. I had ideas — I always had ideas — and I now understood that I could write them down without being a published author. Hey, I was just becoming a teenager and had little understanding of careers.
When I went home I created a beginning of a story. I did the typical prince and princess story, with the two of them falling in love. Yuck. What did I know of love, anyway, except from what I saw in the movies? It was trash, and I knew it. I tossed it, thinking that doing a princess story was what everyone did. As I sat listening to track on Michael W Smith’s Freedom CD, I envisioned a scene that ended up shaping the future of my writing.
OK, I had just watched Timeline and thought how amazing that movie was, and decided to picture what would happen if it were me. Well, my brain only got so far until I had a character, being chased through a dark forest, by someone who was bound and determined to kill him. And then the track on the CD ended in a very sad tone, and so I “killed” my character. Beautiful, I thought. (First sign of being a writer — I should have realized that right away.)
From this single scene I created my characters, starting with the man being chased and the one doing the chasing, and then it exploded from there. I decided a historical fiction would be fun, and created my world. I wrote — actually, I typed — pages upon pages on my parents’ computer for hours during the day. I got my homework done in the morning so that I could get to the computer after lunch and type until dinner, and then after dinner. My brain was exploding with ideas and I dropped every single one into the story. I poured wrath on my character and surprised them all at every turn. I overwhelmed them, and overwhelmed my friend when she read the first half. I was discouraged and confused because I didn’t understand the elements of writing. I didn’t know that you can’t dump every idea that pops into your head into one story. I didn’t know that even though you liked something it could be written down on separate paper and saved for a different story. I didn’t know how to write. In fact, I switched main characters without realizing it. I ended up following a different person far away from the main action, feeling incredibly bored with Konstantine. And then I realized that I couldn’t write that genre. I needed a new genre.
I knew which genre I wanted, but I felt sinful. Medieval fantasy was what my fingers continued to try to type, but I thought how horrible I must be to start introducing elements that are “not from this world”. But when I came to terms with it and decided that I should explore it, my ideas exploded even more than before. I had found my love.
And so, Konstantine went from being a normal fiction story to a medieval fantasy, with dragons, magic (well, not a lot of that, but it’s in there), and odd creatures of every sort. I blossomed and flourished. I kept changing the story where I was at, never going back and changing what needed to be changed in the beginning. I kept adding, which made it even worse. I finished — actually finished — with the death of my antagonist. And then I realized that the story had grown to something huge, something that could spread over generations of my people (my characters), but that I also had created a monster of a horrible story. It was time to edit.
And edit I did, for years.
Another change my story underwent was culture, or language, in a sense. I had given my characters Russian names (I really don’t remember why), and I am still in the process of changing them to good, strong medieval names that are more Old English without being too typical. Konstantine I’ve kept because it is too difficult to change your main character’s name. I changed the spelling, though, so that it wouldn’t reflect the Russian name. OK, I only added an “e” at the end. Whatever. Still editing.
Anyway, I had a breakthrough today. I knew that I needed to sit down and begin at the beginning to not only edit, but basically rewrite the entire basis of my story. It lacks sense, and it drove me crazy, but I was unwilling to let go of my “original” idea. But really, the dude is the heir to being the First Knight, who in their right mind would NOT tell him and train him to take that position when he was old enough? (Dad is dead, and it gets complicated, but that’s the main thing.) Oh, and First Knight might be edited, too. Reminds me too much of Lancelot in First Knight with Sean Connery. Ew. I never liked Lancelot. OK, except in BBC’s show Merlin, he was actually a pretty good guy and not a creep.
It feels good to let go of ten years of “my baby”. A writer needs to be harsh — even if that means cutting what I hold most dear. My story may end up being completely different from what I had “originally” planned, but I am cool with that. This story holds characters and events that I still feel is important to write about, and I hope that someday it will be available for everyone to read.
Maybe in another ten years.