Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The Sky's Summit

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

I started writing a novel on the evening of the 22nd.

Now, I didn’t exactly intend for this to happen. This novel, titled Zenith, is a young adult sci-fi that I have been planning and plotting and doing loads of scientific research for over the course of the past two years. As I am in my final year of high school and am busy with diploma exams, musicals, a part time job, and a variety of other stresses and events, I decided I wouldn’t attempt to pen another novel until this summer, once I’ve finally graduated and can have a bit of a breather. 

On the bright side, I didn’t promise myself that I wouldn’t write a book until summertime, so no harm done, right?

Thursday night, I should have been studying for a major exam, but at approximately seven pm inspiration struck me like a lightning bolt (not that I know what that’s like - it’s a metaphor simile). 

Allow me to give you a very disorderly and brief rundown of Zenith:

There’s this chick named Zenith, and when she was seven years old some radical constellations befriended her. Oddly enough, she can’t remember anything at all prior to that age. Oh, and a fun fact: not all of these constellations are friendly. Gotta have conflict. I would say more, but I don’t want to risk any spoilers, so I’ll leave it at this: sh*t goes down. 

Like I said, I didn’t plan for this, especially considering I’m leaving on a ten-day service trip to Jamaica on Thursday morning. It’ll hurt to neglect my baby for ten days but chances are, I won’t even be thinking about her there and I am lying to myself I am always thinking about writing and books and Zenith I should really stop lying to myself.

Some of the best things do happen unexpectedly, I will say that. And after a handful of years of planning this bad boy, I feel as though Zenith is...the one.

There have been so many coincidences and epiphanies it’s not even funny. One of these strange coincidences related to a supporting character, named Parvati, who comes from a religious family but struggles immensely in sharing her parents’ faith. Ironically, her name is a variation of the term pavitra (translating to “holy”) in a language I currently do not remember. 

A few months ago, I had a lightbulb turn on in my head, and in that exact moment I knew that Zenith’s overall theme was family - the family that you do not share blood with. After participating in a handful of service trips and theatre productions and youth groups, I learned a lot about that form of family, and seeing as my beloved protagonist comes from a home where her parents aren’t overly involved in her life, she instead finds a strong family in her companions. 

About two weeks ago I had a moment where I suddenly knew how to end my book. I found myself in a downpour of ideas for plot twists as well. It was so overwhelming that I nearly had a panic attack in English class while trying to sort through so many ideas - it was basically a creativity implosion inside of my head. 

And gosh, my characters. I’ve never felt this strong of an attachment before. I’ve had an abundance of ideas, the first halves of novels written, a first draft sitting on my desktop, but truthfully, the characters of Zenith are the closest to me. I wrote detailed notes about these characters instead of paying attention in class. I stole many attributes from my friends and spent plenty of time observing human interaction. I gave Zenith a pair of glasses to accompany her near sightedness and a mild obsession with scented hand lotion; Maxon enjoys physics and falls asleep in every other class; Parvati despises the sound of whiteboard markers and aspires to be an elementary teacher; Kellin has a birthmark on his left cheek and doodles absentmindedly. I want these characters to be raw and real. I picture their voices and conversations and habitual gestures in my mind. I don’t want to create Mary Sues or stereotypical superheroes. I want them to be as real as the people I go to school with. 

When it comes down to it, characters have always been the biggest thing for me. Obviously, all other novel aspects are just as important, but the characters are the ones who the reader relates to, cheers for, cries with, and so on. The characters are the ones who make the reader feel. And that’s what I aim for. I aim to provoke emotion. 

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