Let's tell a short little story about a 12 year old girl and a place called Athenadragia.
While that is the most embarrassing name for a fictional world, it was mine.
Athenadragia was a weird mix of sci-fi, fantasy, and urban fiction. There were typical high schools, fantastical monsters, space-ships, different species, kings and queens, the whole works. I was in love with this world, despite the fact I barely knew anything about it. Yes, I created a vague main planet and a bunch of different species, but I didn't really know what the world looked like. The power systems were confusing, my characters whirred back and forth between Athenadragia and modern-day Earth, it was super goddamn confusing.
And there were bad guys named Grominorks; I truly have no excuse for that.
Athenadragia was enigmatic at best. I couldn't even focus on my characters; each time I did I would get too into the vague concepts of their entire saga and their children even, and then decide I liked their kids better and move forward a whole generation. I started with Selenia and Zak, then their daughter Marina and her boyfriend Cole, then a final pair that I can't even remember the names of. I did that for three solid generations before I realized I had no clue what I was doing.
Then came Freezpointe, even more of a mindfuck than Athenadragia. It was a small town in Maine where a bunch of mythical creatures hid in plain sight, a hub of magic in the modern world. The main characters were Kevin Martinez and Mari Alander, a Dragon Rider and his Dragon who lived there, fought monsters, and fell in love (don't worry, of course she could turn into a human woman; it was teen girl fiction).
But much like Athenadragia, the generations got out of hand. One, because Kevin had a huge family and I decided to include all of them in the story and to keep track of them. Second, because for unknown reasons I decided I was very interested in their daughter, Lisbeth and her best friend/future boyfriend, Warren Sander.
Now, let's be honest straight off the bat. Lisbeth was my iconic, I'm 13 and hopeless, self-insert character. Worse, her Warren was my dream guy at the time. Even more uncomfortable, he shares a lot of traits and arbitrary interests with my own boyfriend, something that makes me way too uncomfortable to think about for long. That was a very weird night of perusing old stories when I was 20 and skyping him.
Anyway, I slowly started doing the same thing to Freezpointe and Lisbeth and Warren. I was so wrapped up in their lore and future and just the basic plotlines that I wrote the first book and was helpless after that.
And when Freezpointe fell apart, there was Helios, the starship Caspian, so many more attempts at a science fiction or fantasy stories. However, I always struggled to stick with them. There always was something about each thing I created that didn't keep my attention and eventually destroyed each story from the inside out.
That was when I transitioned from desperately trying to be a sci-fi fantasy writer to realistic fiction, telling stories about what I knew best at the time: erratic emotions and depression. That period of my life, 15-20, helped create Blue and I'm forever thankful for that. I still have quite a few mental illness stories I'm desperate to write. But, for a long time, that's all I thought I could write. That emotion was my forte, not anything else.
Then, I watched The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance a few weeks ago and everything feels so different.
As a child, The Dark Crystal was my favorite fantasy movie, a bizarre, wondrous world with rare elements of science fiction. Something sparked in me, seeing that world again. It was like a thousand strings from my failed stories started to wind together into something I connected with.
And, oddly enough, I think the core of the issue was that I always was trying to write fantastical humans. But, for me, I spent my life feeling like an alien because of my disorders. The Dark Crystal, with all its beauty and characters, doesn't have a single human. I think it woke in me that my fantasy story wouldn't involve humans because typical humans aren't what I know. So, I have to create people that I understand.
So, after years of jumping stories, Arkaven was reborn. Populated by a diverse species of emotion-conscious magic-users, they use their feelings as conduits for their amazing abilities. Their world is inspired from The Dark Crystal, Pan's Labyrinth, Star Trek, Star Wars and more. I've never had a world grow in front of my very eyes as I wrote notes, but I can feel this one in my bones and I'm slowly falling for the characters that will make up this saga.
They are all unique and beautiful and feel emotions their own way. Each clan lives with the symptoms of what we call mental disorders, but for them its normal. After all, that's the point of science fiction worlds, right? To reflect the world as the writer sees it.
And for me, I see a world filled with neurological differences, not the way a lot of other people see it.
I know it's super early; maybe in a few weeks I'll start my infamous cascade. However, for now, I am over the moon at the fact I finally might have found my way to build a world I believe in and can contribute to the genres I adore so much.
To think I'd have a part of my future in science fiction and fantasy is more than I ever could dream. Especially when that world is filled with aliens who think and feel like I do.