"Welcome to Japan, folks. The local time is . . . tomorrow."
- from 30 Minutes Over Tokyo, The Simpsons, Season 10

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Early Works

In attempting to answer someone's question at the Den of Shadows, I started thinking about some of my earliest novels.

The second novel I wrote was a trilogy called Whale Song. (I wrote the novel over the course of three spiral bound notebooks and wrote "to be continued" at the end of each book.) Whale Song was about the alien world of Avvvingteesttia, and the Avvlings who came to Earth seeking help for their dying people. The main character was the eldest Avvling princess who, following in her mother's footsteps, came to Earth to request aid. Only when her mother came, she never returned. So along with looking for her two sisters, she also needed to look for her mother, but in the process of trying to save her people, she fell in love with a human boy.

It's actually kind of hard for me to make this story sound coherent since each notebook told it's own storyline, and then because I lost the first and third notebooks, but really wanted to try publishing the story, I tried delving into what the political life was like on Avvingteesttia with no queen, since it was a matriarchal society, and now that all the women of the ruling family where running around Earth, what was happening to their father? Some how in the process, I gave them an evil aunt who was a witch named Hexe. I don't know why, I just figured I needed a villain.

This is actually the most coherent this story has sounded, and thinking about it in these very simple terms (compared to the mess I made of the novel when trying to "fix" it), it makes me think that I could actually rework this story. The plotline would need some reworking since I only have part 2 of 3. And Hexe would be dropped.

Maybe like so many other writers, a part of me does actually want to see my "first" book in print.

The first book I wrote was called Running Water and started with the wonderful (note the sarcasm) opening line of "It was a dark and stormy night . . .". It was also my first attempt at writing a short story outside of school work, and it exploded into a novel. Yeah, Running Water has no chance of ever making it to my list of novels I want to go back to.

Though Running Water wasn't actually the first book I wrote. The first-fist book I wrote was in first grade, and I owe much of my writing to my first grade teacher, Ms Ann Hall, who helped me every step of the way, or at least when I had plot problems. And the second-first book that I wrote was called Lolo and Popo's Adventure, which I wrote in sixth grade. Originally I wanted to expand a short story I had written for the class into a book, but my teacher, Ms Nelson, encouraged me to write a new story. So I wrote one about sister chimpanzees who were trying to save their rain forest home, which just happened to be the Amazon because I didn't realize Africa had any rain forests, or that chimpanzees actually lived in Africa and not South America. Since then, I've learned to do research.

The third book I wrote was called Dragon Rose; A Dragon's Love story. It was only the prequel to Whale Song because they were set in the same world, though originally Dragon Rose was in it's own world. I decided to combine them to use shared world history. But Dragon Rose is set primarily in the ancient past plus some of the "modern day" of Dreyverzon. In a way, Dragon Rose explains Avvingteesttia's history, but I don't think that bit of history is important to modern day Avvingteesttia to be in Whale Song, especially since most of Whale Song takes place on Earth.

It was about the time that the Avvling princesses' mother had the spirit of a tiger and if they wanted to save their mother, they would have to save her tiger first that I realized I needed to figure out who these "animal people" were. While they still fascinate me, and I would like to give them center stage in a story, I haven't yet. Mostly, I became preoccupied with dragons and the legend and the curse, and how the history of Dreyverzon coincided with the history of Avvingteesttia. And then the story just puttered out. Though I have a friend who, every now and then, asks, How is that dragon story of yours coming along? To which I reply, You still remember that thing? And she says, Of course. I loved that story.

So maybe at some point when I want to take a break from the supernatural Realm of Shadows, I might get around to re-visiting the more fantastical world of dragons and shapeshifters, of legends and curses, and of the horrors of modern day science, and alien princesses falling in love with human boys. Theirs is a world that really is lighter and fluffier than the Shadows.

One thing that carries over between the two worlds is that they both have strong magic, not so friendly humans, and shapeshifters. Yes, I'll admit it, my dragons were actually shapeshifters, or at least the more powerful ones were (there were actually three types of dragons in that world - dragons, the Royals, and the Keepers of the Old Ways).

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