This book might actually be the death of me. I've been working on this fantasy book on and off since I took my Arthurian Romance class almost two years ago. I got this idea of wanting to write sort of a modern fantasy (not modern-day, just a 2010s version of fantasy) of my favorite romances. I started brainstorming, and I even managed to write a version for my class final paper. Fast forward to Fall 2017 when I took my Moby-Dick class (my capstone English course at that) and I wrote the opening utilizing inspiration and articles from the book. Neither of these iterations ended up coming to fruition. I would say that my Moby-Dick version is still the closest to where I am now. I wanted to write a story about a girl who crossed the border into a country that is not her own. I wanted her to discover secrets. And that's this book.
This book has me picking my brain more than any other book I've worked on. Even moreso than my YA Science Fiction (which is currently being set to the side so I can completely redo it...). The characters in that story came to me so much more easily than the ones in this story and I'm not so sure as to why. I think it's because those characters grew out of characters I was writing already and over time, they evolved. I understand the characters, but these ones are so different. I think it also has something to do with the fact that these characters aren't really based on anyone else. The only one who was inspired by anyone is the main character. She was inspired by Echo from The 100. If you know me, I love that show to death, and if you know my ship, she is stopping it from happening. But I don't mind her. In fact, her character intrigues me.
This character was inspired by Echo solely for the fact that, as of the end of season 5, we know nothing about where she came from. I was so intrigued that a character can become a main character and we (the fans/readers) know nothing about her. It had me thinking about who she is and where she came from. I ended up googling to see if the actress, Tasya Teles, had any thoughts on who Echo is and that google search didn't disappoint! She did an interview with the Fandomentals and said this about where she thought Echo came from:
I’ve looked at child soldiers, modern day pirates, spies, and secret agents. Like child soldiers, spies are often people with no family, and nothing to lose, which is what makes them great spies. Using the idea of Echo as an orphan, or being kidnapped from her family, is where I started to build her backstory.
Growing up without a family in a ruthless environment, Echo was put into training almost immediately. She lost her childhood to combat training, which hardened her, but it also cultivated this cool, capable badass we met in season four, and saw a glimpse of in season two. Azgeda would be a scary place for any orphan, even those who were training as assassins. Little Echo was conditioned to be ruthless. She had to protect herself from a variety of threats at every corner, never having a safe haven to call home. So it follows that she latched on to Queen Nia pretty tightly when Nia noticed her. By promoting Echo into the royal guard, Echo suddenly had status, protection, and a purpose. That was the closest thing to a family she ever knew. How sad is that? But her fear of abandonment, and her incapacity to trust others easily, are scars from her childhood that never leave her, which we see her struggle with in season four. She’s terrified of losing her “family,” and will go to great lengths to protect her kin.
Obviously none of this is canon, but this had me thinking about where she came from and that spiraled into my own new version of her in my head...which spiraled into me starting this new book I'm working on. I loved the idea of not knowing where Echo came from. I was more interested in what Tasya said about her possibly being an orphan and her being kidnapped from her family. And that's when the races took off.
This book is what I call my "Echo" book because my other book series is my "Clarke/Bellamy" book. Basically, my books are odes to my favorite characters on my favorite show. But this one has me diving deeper than Vigilant does. This one doesn't come as naturally and it's crazy that it doesn't. These characters feel much darker than my others...which is surprising because the other book is post-apocalyptic. But I think once I get through this hurdle, this book will be well worth the struggles. I've got the story and the plot, I just have to write it out.
I'm currently working on Chapter One for the second time. I have through Chapter Four written, but I thought I would give first person a go with this book. I accidentally changed from third to first in the last few paragraphs of Chapter One and one of my Critique Partners loved it, so I thought I would give it a go and see if I can find these characters a little easier. I'm not very far into it, but I'm working through it! It's a little weird because I'm writing it paragraph by paragraph with the third person version. It's definitely a weird one!
That's all for this writing update! Let me know if you want to hear anything specific about my writing process! ~Amanda