On October 6th, I posted a blog entry where I asked people to look at the different story/novel ideas I had and to vote on one that they would like to see written for NaNoWriMo and eventually brought to publication. The titles and synopsis I proposed were as follows:
- Blackstone: Masquerade of the Black Sun
- Ashes and Tears
- Spread the Word
- The Virus Wars
- The Great Wheel
- The Reluctant Mage
- The Deep
There were a total of 50 votes, which I was rather impressed with. Three different titles contended for top spot. They were Ashes and Tears, The Virus Wars (zombie books refuse to go out of style!) and The Reluctant Mage. And the final winner was…
None of the Above.
Shana of Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy happened. Shana is a well-respected reviewer of YA literature whose site I would highly recommend to one and all. Over at Goodreads she had posted a comment about how it would be cool to see a novel about adolescent/YA elves. I thought about this for a moment, then a moment longer. Then I said, “Aw, crap…” I was hooked on the idea and it wasn’t going to let go.
The timing was really bad because the voting on what to write for NaNoWriMo had settled upon Ashes and Tears (which kind of surprised me). So I was beginning my research into the mysterious creature known as the adolescent male and adolescent psychology. I would also need to do research on the theories of multiverses, string theory and the lovely accompanying stuff. To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to some of it, but I was going to do it ’cause it was a cool challenge, imho.
But every day at work as I was listening to my music or audiobooks my brain was busily cranking away on the elven story concept(s). I tried to force my thoughts back to Ashes and Tears, but with no success.
Then National Geographic threw its weight into the decision process with an article in the November, 2011 issue. In it was an article about the Scandinavian Sami Reindeer Herders.
Upon reading the article, looking at the pictures and then doing some further Wiki and Google searching, I had the second part of this elven novel set. The first part focuses on typical Sylvan elves in their woodlands. The second part will focus on elves in the far north near the Arctic.
For the Sylvans I am looking at forests in the southeast of Europe, particularly broadleaf temperate forests with oak, beech, maple and like trees. There is little outside pressure to this group but some of the rituals and simple lifestyles will paint the setting. I will probably have to put in either humans or goblins trying to clear some of the forest to provide for cropland, town space, etc., in order to keep things interesting.
From there we swing far, far north to see what is happening in the lives of the Frost elves. Here we see a people struggling with the local humans for grazing land for their reindeer. While their customs and even religious activities are very overlapping it is still the age old story of not getting along with neighbors, fighting for marginal lands, oppression. In the real world the Sami people wander across the borders of Norway, Sweden, Finland and northwest Russia. All of these countries came into conflict with the Sami over the years, including forcing Sami into slave labor at the Nasafjäll mine in Sweden. Some of this will be reflected in the project.
Today, I actually came across the first Mother Jones article that I had a use for. And it was a non-political piece! The story was about changes coming to the Moken people of the Thai/Myanmar seas. Never heard of them? I hadn’t, either, until this article. Then I hopped back over to Nat Geo and looked them up there as well. I became quite intrigued by the “Sea Gypsies of Myanmar”. I had been looking for a seaside culture and was planing on doing something with Bangladeshi, Vietnamese or Myanmar fishing cultures. As it turns out, the Moken will work quite nicely! The only problem is that I was hoping to include a kelp forest as a geographical anchor for the sea elves, or Mer as I will be calling them. As it is, kelp forests do not grow in the tropics, preferring temperate waters. Ah, well..
Like the Sami, the Moken are struggling with marginalization, outside cultural influences and current political pressures as both the Myanmar and Thai governments are trying to force the tribes to settle permanently, attend school, pay taxes and all of that boring shit. For the NaNoWriMo project I will be focusing on some internal struggles in one of the tribes.
Next, I still have to find the appropriate desert civilization to use as the basis for my Sand elves. Since that will be the fourth culture that I will be visiting, it can wait a bit.
In the end the book from the list that actually ended up winning was the one with the least votes as this project will also deal with The Deep as a youth from each of these cultures is fostered by a Great House of the Deep as part of a cultural exchange.
The final pieces of the plot are coalescing in my head even as I listen to some of the old Judas Priest albums (Rocka Rolla, Sad Wings of Destiny, Sin After Sin, the really good stuff This is my first time doing NaNoWriMo, but it’s going to be a heck of an interesting project and a wild month!
Thanks to all who participated in my vote earlier. I really was intending on going with the winner of the poll before this idea came along. It’s crowded everything else out and I just gotta write it now! I’ve even had to go to the trouble of requesting a number of books through the Omaha Public Library’s Interlibrary Loan service to continue my research >_<
I really need a good publishing contract so I can devote myself to writing projects. I’ve a score or more to work on and not enough time!!
“Winter is coming…” but NaNoWriMo will get here first o_O