After a lot of seemingly-futile struggling against depression, anxiety and creative block, I am finally writing again.
I have written 1.5 chapters so far (amazing! /s) of the new version of my fantasy story starring Eren and Mertag. I have masses of notes, and while I don't have a written outline this time, I know the gist of the story, the characters, the world, the history, the magic, what I want to include and what is outside the scope of this first tale. I always seemed to get lost iterating on the outline and never getting any prose written, and when I did write prose I inevitably discovery-wrote slightly away from the outline and then got bogged down revising the outline to include the changes I had wrought in one writing session. So no outline this time. I don't interact well with precise planning, it would seem.
Of all the stuff relating to it I have done concept art of
over the years, Eren and Mertag (previously named Eryn and Cameron) are the only characters who are still in the first story set in that world.
Lots of the things I did concept art of, such as the character Gorph
(later renamed to Hyl, when I no longer thought frog spelled backward was a clever character name - I have been developing this story/world for a long
time), the goblins (such as the Goblin Raider
), the elves (such as in this picture of Laeana exploring the Southside Dungeon
in some location that's no longer relevant) are no longer part of that world at all. In the process of refining thing, deciding what I wanted the story to be, I realised there was no need for non-human sapient races living alongside the humans. It is needless complexity, which younger me included because that was what I assumed I had to do when writing a fantasy story.
Lots of characters, including Eren and Mertag, and also the mercenary monster-hunter Brutus
(now probably named Brut) and the elven adventurer/spy/guard/mage Laeana (now probably a male human named Laean), have changed in various ways. Things like names, backstories and genders. Brut and Laean aren't in this first story anyway though, so I am intentionally not giving them too much thought right now.
Mertag (previously Cameron) is now female because I felt it made her mind-linked twin relationship with Eren fit better, and because I didn't want to, like I mentioned in the paragraph before last, just do things because that is the normal way lots of fantasy stories go - in this case the main perspective character being a competent, powerful straight white male orphan. They are not orphans any more either. God, I was such a generic hack when I was younger.
I settled on the name Mertag by deriving it from Murdoch/Murtagh, an Irish name meaning navigator or skilled-sea-going-person. It seemed to fit, as Eren (previously Eryn) is obviously derived from the Irish name Erin, meaning Ireland. Mertag fits better than Cameron, anyway, as Cameron is a Scottish name meaning crooked-nose. The name meanings have never really had any relevance to the story, I just wanted people from the same tribe to have names that kind of sound like they come from the same culture.
While in some ways I wish I could release the story as a web serial, in a similar format to the absolutely brilliant Worm
by wildbow, I am not confident enough in my prose yet to do so. Instead I am going to try to get an entire first draft finished and then edit it and look into publishing/distribution options once/if I feel it is good enough.
Also, I haven't thought of a new title yet. Previous ideas include Char Grilled, which is just silly, Voidlight, which no longer has any link to the story at all, and Faeglow, which is relevant but I don't particularly love. If it has to have a title, Faeglow kind of works for now. Alternatively, its title in the document I am typing it in is The First Story about Mertag and Eren. Snappy.
Could be that this will be the start of a vast fanstasy series with many novels set in it. Could be the embarrassing practice novel that I write before my first actually good one. Could be that I get part way through then my depression gets bad enough again that I can't bring myself to write. We'll see.