Monday, August 11, 2014

In the Shadows of Myrmidons: A Young Adult Paranormal Novel

This blog is for the fans. There aren't many, yet, but maybe, one day...just know that I'm just a regular dude.
"In the Shadows of Myrmidons" is the culmination of quite a few things. It is the first novel I've written, which also makes it the first novel I've written with Nick. It's also a major departure from where it started. It's the fulfillment of a dream, a longing, from my 7th or 8th grade days when I realized I wanted to write novels. That was after reading and being awed by Zahn's "Heir to the Empire" trilogy. Lastly, "Myrmidons" was probably also the motivation for my majoring in writing in college. 
It started in high school. Nick was randomly in my German class the first week of school, and we were both new to the school we were at. He couldn't handle the 85 minutes of German everyday (neither could I, I endured the semester due to the presence of cute girls and the hope the German would click, but then I dropped class a week before class ended, after the teacher swore at me in English) and he transferred to the French class two doors down. On our way out of school everyday, we would chat.
Fast forward, we ended up in English together, and lunch. There we talked about 80s popculture, movies, music and videogames, BEFORE you hipsters made it cool. And we were outcasts for it. Maybe we were just proto-hipsters.
Though I should give you hipsters credit for rediscovering the cool stuff that had been cast aside.
At any rate, as we hung out and finagled our class schedules so we could hang out more, we came up with ideas for stories. Admittedly,  most of these...ok, all of these except one were basically (non-porn) fanfiction. I take the Fifth as to which series'. Inspired by Nick's first story, I came up with a prequel story. Inspired by that, Nick came up with another prequel to that, which would serve as the origin story.
Probably these were all rough drafts at best.
Graduation happened, and with work I didn't have time or interest to write stories any more. Well, that and wasting time with games and movies. I put stories on the back burner. I can't speak for Nick,  but I'm sure something similar happened with him. I had also become a Christian and so also did spend some time trying to figure that out as well.
It wasn't until I hit about 23, and I had a huge crush on a girl. It wasn't mutual, though I had thought it was, but that and severe dissatisfaction with my job made me feel something deep within my soul. I had to do something, but I wasn't sure what.
So one day, I farted out a really dark sequel story to these stories we'd written years previously. It wasn't great. It had some good ideas, but that's really it. Despite this, at the time I thought it was amazing. So, I figured before I tried to get it published or do anything with it I needed to go back and rework the old stories.
I reworked my original prequel story as a script. A friend said that at least it was fast paced. Yeah, it probably sucked.
But I still thought it would be worth revisiting after I reworked what would be the whole origin story. But again, I let distractions get the better of me, though I did retool some of the ideas for the origin story and came up with the villain of Chaz, as the origin never really had had any real threat. Nick and I did meet occasionally to hammer out a rough story for this, but our schedules differed greatly and I did my part to avoid writing by attending college again.
As those ideas sat on the back burner, I went to college and started looking into other religions, in addition to UFO stuff. I never rejected my faith in Christ, but I was growing doubts. Ironically, it had kind of started with me looking into UFOs for story ideas.
After graduating school, and after recovering my faith in Christ through reading the Bible, I sat down to write what was to become "Myrmidons". I did so with massive amounts of prayer, and eating up all of the Bible teaching and Christian alternative theories about various topics. Which influenced the story I would say.
Because I was taking my faith seriously then, I had a few more tweaks to make to the story.
Unfortunately, I was also avoiding Nick for really stupid reasons and was trying to find a way to rewrite this story without him. Thankfully,  the Lord reconciled us. In truth, I had felt convicted in my heart about trying to do so, and re-reworked it back into this storyline and ironically it helped us get back together, though not as often as we would like. But that's a different story.
At any rate, the most major tweak I made to the story was giving Snake a mentor in the form of Robbie, the former Phantom Bowman. This character was brand new. That also brought up other problems though, namely, why didn't Snake try to enlist the help of superheroes to take down the obviously super powered Chaz?
In an early draft, I had him do just that, but it didn't really work out having superheroes all over. Even with the Bowman there to help, it just didn't play right having other heroes around. Otherwise,  why not just write about them?
So I invented the conspiracy theory/cover-up that superheroes had been outlawed and "disappeared". A sort of twist on an idea of Nick's. Thankfully, that opened up more story possibilities and gave some of the characters things to do, and it also added a "you're on your own" and "what your doing is illegal" element to the story and Snake's actions. It also helped me come up with the Sunset Men, the enforcers of that government conspiracy.
Upon reflection, I guess this whole outlawed superheroes and hero metor sort of is unintentionally a Jedi Order / Ben Kenobi element. It was also used by "The Incredibles" and "Watchmen", but again, it was less to imitate that, and more to avoid imitating the Big Two's surplus of metahumans. 
Also, I let the old man live!
At any rate, adding Robbie as a former archer was there to set up Snake's archery prowess, because at a later point in an older version of the series Snake was to be an archer of sorts. That may get reworked.
Probably the last change, and the most major since the addition of Robbie is to include the demonic entity Myrmidon in the story. The reason for doing this is yet future, but I knew if I was to use him later on in any form, he had to be introduced in this story. Plus, his presence adds a little strangeness to the story. He never had a real name in the past, but as Nick had told me about his ideas for a team named "the Myrmidons of Hope" and I titled this story what I did, I knew I had to exploit the symbolic potential of the title and thus the demon Myrmidon was at last given a proper name.
With those changes in place; new characters changed or added, old ones removed, and a motive to write this story from as much of a Biblical perspective as possible, "In the Shadows of Myrmidons" was born. After many various revisions and hurdles.

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