Like many of you out there in the blogosphere (I hate that word, and yet I use it anyway), I have been looking forward to nanowrimo.org‘s annual event — oh yes, thirty days and nights of literary abandon, here I come! I have a lot of notes written down, some about character development, others about plot points, and a lot about the economy, language, and politics of my fictional realm. I am scared that, as usual, I’ve put myself in an extremely hefty project that I will not be able to finish. I planned on taking an old project from high school and revamping it.
In high school, I was extremely into anime and the novelty of it as a fairly “new” genre (although I was aware there had been anime fans in the US for years, it was not popular until the late 90s). I had never seen such amazing fantasy and sci-fi stories presented through animation, so naturally, I went on a journey to watch as much of it as I could. I had a particular fondness for dark, dystopian (or semi-dystopian) sci-fi anime such as serial experiments lain, Boogiepop Phantom, Big O, and Gundam. Anything with giant robots, corrupt politicians, and murder tended to be right up my alley. But on the other hand, I crooned over shows like Magic Knight Rayearth, The Vision of Escaflowne, and Oh! My Goddess. I loved movies like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. I played games like Final Fantasy and Parasite Eve, but I also spent hours buried in the islands and lore of MYST. So many genres!
So I wrote a story about a dystopian future in which people had a giant airship and used pseudo-science to bring the dead back to life. It was not terribly well done. But I liked the ideas that I had, and after reading through my fifty-two pages of poorly-written novella, I realized that I could easily fit this into a different genre: Steampunk. Now, my idea of steampunk probably doesn’t neatly fall into this category, but it’s definitely the best descriptor I can come up with. I still have a dystopian realm, survival/horror, and of course magic and science.
So without further ado, here’s the synopsis of my plot so far (it will evolve as I move through the story, I’m sure). And if you want to add me on nanowrimo, my name is monaxia!
For centuries, the realm of Theliess ran like a well-oiled machine. The three empires it nurtured all played a valuable role in its global economy: The Orrusov Empire presided over much of the intellectual and political requirements, the city-state of Anaulel over theology and magics, and Allakesh over agriculture and technology. Each of the three empires had a relatively high standard of living for its citizens, and provided valuable contributions to its neighboring realms, thereby maintaining balance throughout the lands. For most, this was an idyllic setup which allowed the denizens of Theliess easy access to necessities such as food, housing, employment and financial security. Anyone who could not afford such luxuries often traveled to the agrarian sectors, where farmers and engineers were willing to take outsiders in for apprenticeships and training.
But their simple lives in were only temporarily veiled from the eyes of the blackened gods that lurked among them. The balance of power between man and the gods was never perfect, but for years it was tilted in man’s favor, keeping the gods’ fury under control. But as Theliess began to approach its population threshold, darker political ideas came to fruition in moments of desperation: Destruction of the poorer communities, razing of areas that did not offer sufficient food production, and eventually of the people deemed intellectually or physically inferior. As the greed and chaos mounted inside of the elite sector, a sharp line began to divide those who sought to regulate the lives of others, and those who clung to the ways things had always been.
And then, one morning, the answer came. The sun was blotted from the sky; crops withered and died. Electricity was a luxurious dream — food even moreso. Now, everyone fights to survive against the wrath of the blackened gods, but the powers they harbor are more powerful than they’d ever dreamed of. The people of Theliess must band together and use their skills of magic and science, intellect and intuition, and religion and rationality, to save themselves from destruction.
Best of luck to all you participating in Nanowrimo! 🙂