Writing Journey #16- Why I Changed the Story?

THE ORIGINAL STORY

SO WHEN I WAS 13, I wrote a story about a war, that I called The Kiajin Knights Saga (the header image is the Kiajin symbol). It was inspired by my favorite childhood cartoons, video games, books, and original characters that I created with my cousin. It was a 500 page novel that I self published at 21-years-old, typos and all. I sold around 30 copies, mostly to friends and family.

A LITTLE TIDBIT of inside information, Kiajin was taken from the Japanese version of the Dragon Ball Z word Saiyan, which is Saiyajin. I just turned the S to a K, removed a Y, and my Kiajin Knights were born! It was a standard war story about a group of quest holders, a dark lord, and the fate of the entire world on the brink of destruction. It had knights, elves, magic, kings, queens, but at some point they could conjure massive fireballs and fly. Yup, you can tell what influenced my early work.

AND THE MORE I reread what I had written, the more I began to cringe. It made me understand why an editor was so important: my story was full of grotesque, glaring errors and typos. Or at the very least beta readers would have helped smooth things out. I had neither. It was embarrassing.

WHEN THE STORY STALLED

DURING THE CREATION of the 2nd book is when I started to feel burned out, and the story started to go sideways. I had a lot of characters, and a lot of events, much like the 1st book. However, the 2nd book suffered from what I realize now is a divergence in plot.

I WOULD TAKE detours in chapters to talk about totally unrelated characters and story points. They were just fun to write, but they stopped the story dead in its tracks because it took the focus off the primary goals. A few family members noted that they got bored during the chapters that didn’t focus on the main characters. But I finished it, and was proud of what I had accomplished, despite its round about story. It wasn’t until later that I learned about the importance of keeping a story on track.

HOWEVER, THE 2ND BOOK was important in that it is when I introduced one of the most important characters in the story. Her name was Rel Rel.

THEN, DURING THE 3rd and final book, I lost my direction completely. Mostly because all the key main characters disappeared, and were no longer in the story (due to circumstances in the plot). The only character left was Rel Rel. At this time, she was only a side character, someone that never had the spot light. A character I never really fleshed out. It was at this time that I took a break from the novel. Something wasn’t working.

COLLEGE

I SPENT THE NEXT FEW YEARS trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I worked at the post office for awhile. I was also a Home school teacher for a bit, for my younger brother and sisters. My parents Home schooled me and my younger brother, and decided to do the same with my 3 younger siblings.

THEN, AFTER TRAVELING up and down California for a year or so, and spending a lot of time in LA, I eventually went back to college and attended the Art Institute of CA. I met my wife here 😉 ANYWHO, in college, I majored in Media Arts and Animation. Everything I learned, like animation, 3D modeling, storytelling, character design, Photoshop, Flash, and all, sparked my creativity again.

AND I STARTED to rework my idea for the old Kiajin Knights Story. One class in particular, “Character and Object Design”, is when the major changes to the story began to form. One particular lesson said that we had to come up with a new story, but we could NOT have pirates, vampires, knights, werewolves, ninjas, elves, or any other cliché character types.

IF WE WERE going to have a pirate, we couldn’t call it a pirate. The teacher told us to mix it with something else, call it by a different name, and make it unique. It was to help us think outside the box, to explore other ideas and avenues of thought that weren’t reused and rehashed.

SO LIKE I SAID I had elves, kings, queens, and all that in my original novel. There were 5 original races: elves, humans, angels, beast men, and ninjas. I eventually settled on changing the races to Muses, since I was in a school full of writers, artists, culinary students, graphic designers, and musicians. It seemed like an interesting change.

THAT’S WHERE MY influence came from, and how the Muses in Hand of Rel were born.

HAND OF REL

AS I SAID I met my wife in college. One day, I was helping her write a story for her class. It was about a young girl with an active imagination with parents that didn’t tolerate her games. She had an imaginary friend in the form of a doll, and a pair of goggles that brought her imagination to life.

I WOULD EVENTUALLY rewrite this story, making Rel Rel, from my older novels, the main protagonist. And that’s how Rel Rel: Lost Mirror was born. I wrote and published the short story in 2013.

LOST MIRROR was originally meant to be a stand alone set of short stories where Rel Rel would just have fun with her imagination. But I liked the idea of muses, and writers, so much so that I merged this new world with the old world of my books. And Hand of Rel was born. Lost Mirror gave Rel Rel a unique back story. I began to understand her as a character, her insights, her motivations, and at the time, thought she’d be an interesting protagonist to helm my story. And as I said before, in the original narrative, she was the last character standing during the events of the final book. Even then, she was the most important character in the end. So I figured it’d be interesting to see her journey into the final book.

HAND OF REL is essentially the culmination of years, ideas, and finally ironing out all the kinks. It’s what my Kiajin stories have evolved into. I have changed, merged, and updated characters, scenarios, and worlds to a more modern ideal of what I always wanted, but it will follow the same narrative flow. Only now, they will focus on Rel Rel and her adventures.

SO INSTEAD OF ANGELS I have Creators. Instead of humans, I have Writers. Instead of elves, I have Musicians. Instead of beast men, I have Chefs. And instead of pirates and ninjas, I have Artists. Muses. And each type of Muse has their own unique characteristics and abilities that make them more than just renamed angels, humans, elves, beast men, and ninjas. And the Kiajin Knights are now the Hands of Creation. I felt the need to change the title, since I originally just changed a single letter in Saiyajin.

I’VE TRIED MY best to create a whole new world that’s still fantasy, but still very much my own. I’m hoping it’ll be different enough for people to enjoy, but not so different to the point that nothing makes sense. But I guess only time will tell, when I finally finish, and people enter the Muse Realm for the first time. That’ll be awesome!

AND LASTLY, I felt like my story had been done better by the likes of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and the Narnia series. Magic. Knights. A world in peril. I even had a dark lord! Thus, I wanted to create something that, at least, I haven’t seen. Hopefully it’s the same for anyone that reads the Hand of Rel. It’s something that I want to be specifically mine, a world that I made from my own imagination. We’ll see how well it stands the test of time.

BUT I HAVE finally finished the 1st book. So there is some progress, I guess.

IF YOU ENJOY my work, please feel free to support me with some Kofi! Any support is appreciated, but not necessary 😉 It helps support me as a creator, so anything helps 😀 If you choose to buy me a coffee, I thank you, YOU ROCK!

THANK YOU SO MUCH for reading! I’ll be back with another entry next Monday.  Keep that imagination kicking! Please take care, you all rock. Cheers!

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