Sunday, November 27, 2011

Wouldn't You Really Rather Write Fantasy?

"Pedro, just listen to your heart. That's what I do." -- Napoleon Dynamite

Jaq writes from Lithuania (via Goodreads):

"How did you come up with the idea for "Dragonfriend"? Did you always want to write about dragons?"
Thanks for the question, Jaq.

It's funny. I've known for the longest time that the first book I ever wrote would be a relatively hard sci fi novel. Just known it. After all, that's the genre I started out reading and that I read the most of over the years. That was the serious branch of speculative fiction, right?

Yeah, well...

Then, along came NaNoWriMo (the novel-writing contest where the goal is to write 50k words in the month of November) and what ended up coming out of my brain? A middle-grade Arthurian fantasy adventure jam-packed with magic and dragons, the most popular of all the mythical beasts of fantasy fiction. Where did all of that stuff come from?

Gee, I guess maybe all of those fantasy stories I'd been inhaling "for fun" over the years were having an influence, too -- those repeated boyhood readings of Ivanhoe, the Arthurian legends, and even the old "Prince Valiant" comic strip. What about all of the works of Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and the other giants of fantasy? Think they might count for something in my pot of "influence stew?"

Yup. They where telling me that, if I really listened to my inner scribe, my writer's heart, I'd probably much rather write a fantasy novel.

The idea for Dragonfriend pretty much just popped into my head when I was trying to figure out what to write for NaNo. I can't ascribe it to anything other than a tiny flash of divine inspiration that told me to draw on influences I'd forgotten about (or was in denial over -- I mean come on, Tolkien? I'm not worthy to touch the hem of his garment, much less toil in his, and I do mean HIS, genre).

Don't get me wrong, I still love sci fi (and have the first draft of a YA space opera I'm going to start editing after the third Leonard book), but I'm very happy that I listened to my heart and remembered that, whether I knew it or not, I really always wanted to write about dragons.


Daniel R. Marvello said...

So Dragonfriend was a NaNo-baby? That's cool! Michael Offutt (another platform campaigner) and I were recently wondering how many novels that get written during NaNoWriMo actually turn into published novels. Well, I guess yours makes at least one!

Roger Eschbacher said...

Daniel -- Yeah, it was the very first one that I did (2007). In theory, I should've chucked it and started another one, but there was something about the story and characters that made me want to stick with it. I kept working on it until I and my "trusted circle" thought it was good enough to share with readers.

Here's the NaNo page where they list people who have published their NaNo novels. Most appear to be self-published, but there are a surprising number of big six houses listed:

NEW BOOK! Wraith World (Ghost Star Adventures Book 2)

Happy to announce my YA sci-fi epic WRAITH WORLD (Ghost Star Adventures Book 2) Kindle Edition is now published and available for purchase! ...