Three years ago today I was supposed to be writing a research paper.
Three years ago today I got distracted, as I do fairly often.
Three years ago today the characters Xavier and Zenia were born.
It’s humbling to consider all that has changed in these three years. What began as a way to pass the time turned into my own way of answering all the questions in my life that can’t easily be asked.
It started with a simple idea. I had seen a commercial earlier that week about a TV show involving witness protection. Witness protection? That sounds interesting.
Sixteen-year-old me had plenty of free time, but I wasn’t dedicated enough at that point to actually research witness protection. So what do I do? I make up my own world with my own rules. And then I plop a few characters onto the world.
Oh, the characters.
I can say straight off that the characters I called Zenia and Xavier were not the same then as they are now. The Z and X I know now would scoff at their earlier selves and probably chastise me for making such bland, one-dimensional characters.
Hey, I was sixteen. And I was bored. It’s not like I was planning on writing a book.
It began with two names: Zenia and Xavier. Zenia was the protagonist because she was a girl, and I’m a girl, and it just made sense. Duh.
Zenia was going to be in witness protection. Because witness protection sounds cool. Duh.
There had to be a reason she was in witness protection… MURDER! Because that’s an exciting way to start a story. Duh.
The story was a way to entertain my friends (then caught up in the Twilight-obsession) with girlish giggles as they read the scenes where the all-too-perfect Xavier character came in to protect Zenia. In the beginning, when it was only about Zenia, he had no qualms with protecting a pitiful little girl who witnessed a brutal murder. Who would?
I kept up with writing the story–no real plot in mind–for a few months. I can’t tell you exactly why it changed, other than the fact that I decided I wanted to actually finish the story. Maybe it was a few weeks earlier that my brother had told me I would never finish the story because I never finished anything. He was right. I was a quitter in a lot of things, especially if I didn’t get my way. I could’t stick to anything for any matter of time. And if something became too difficult to deal with… I quit.
But the only thing I hated worse than doing something I no long felt like doing was someone telling me I couldn’t do something. So I promptly told my brother that I was going to finish this book, just you wait and see.
And I did, approximately eight months later.
I believe that is truly when my characters were “born.” That is when they gradually became fleshed out with personalities, quirks, and pasts. They suddenly became something more than a way to pass the time. They became a way for me to sort out the uncertainties in my life. They became my friends when I was lonely. They became my family when I was home from school, alone. It stopped being about giving my friends some entertainment and it became something I would cling to when I was in some dark moments of my life. My characters, unlike everything else in my life, remained stable.
If you’ve read my post “The Meaning Behind Mark of the Corripian” then you have somewhat an idea behind why I created my characters the way I did. People have wondered why I made Zenia a softer, more sensitive heroine. There was a reason for that (which you can read in my previous post). And yes, she will grow tougher in the following books. But my biggest concern is whether or not she will be able to retain her loving, gentle personality after all that she most do in the war to come. War changes people, and I am eager to see what that will mean for Zenia in particular.
Then there’s Xavier. His past is brushed upon in Book 1, but Book 2 will go far more into depth. A few more flashbacks… Some very dark. His past wasn’t all unicorns and daisies, if you hadn’t already gathered that. And I don’t see a need to cut corners in conveying that to the readers. Xavier was involved in some pretty sketchy stuff, and that’s not going to disappear just because he couldn’t remember it. It also means he doesn’t get to avoid the consequences of his actions. There always are some. And in Book 2, they may involve Zenia.
So there’s a little idea of what I’m working on in Book 2. (; For those of you who keep asking me when it’s going to come out, I hope to finish my first complete draft this summer. I’ll let you know more when it’s closer to that time.
Before I close, I want to send out a big THANK YOU to everyone who has stuck by my side from day one (Oh, and thanks Virginia for being my #1 go-to girl for excessive discussions–possibly very one-sided–on the Corripian Chronicles, especially Xavier. I’m sorry for ruining all the surprises. Thanks for being a good sport!). Thanks also to Sarah Kathryn and Susanna whose friendship has stretched many miles and many years without wavering. You two also tie as my #1 go-to people for story discussions… And you politely listen to my babbling even when I surely sound like a psycho. *quietly applauds*
It’s been a long time coming–but also so very, very short. Three years ago, a story was born. Three years ago I could have never imagined I’d be where I am today.
But I’m so glad I am.
Farewell to all,
“The value of myth is that it takes all the things you know and restores to them the rich significance which has been hidden by the veil of familiarity.” -C.S. Lewis