If you’ve been reading my Twitter page since around the 26th of January, you’ve probably seen me mention these five names with increasing frequency: Xander, Lyra, Ryan, Jen, and Morgan Freeman. All those people (except of course Morgan Freeman) are fictional characters in a new project that I’m quite stoked to work on!
I played around with different titles for a bit, with a working title of “Xander,” then Thrilling Tales in the spirit of those weird old pulp fiction magazines, until I finally settled on Cliche.
Cliche started out as a snarky satire of my (admittedly limited) perception of romance novels. Then, it expanded to include poking fun at chauvinist pulp fiction writers of the olden days. And then, it developed deep, philosophical undertones, like whether the fictional characters have free will even in their own worlds. At this point, I’m not even sure what it is anymore, but what I do know is that I enjoy writing it.
Why have I managed to keep at this story for this long without running out of steam? There are two main reasons:
1) It’s going to be a short-ish story. I have no plans of writing this as a novel. I know what I’m capable of right now, with my current schedule, so I’m setting the bar a bit low. It’s not a self-imposed vanity project of completing a novel while I’m still young. This is just me writing for fun. Anyway, I hope to get this to the length of a 15-20k word novelette.
2) I have a muse. My dear friend, Lady Aerin of Twitter, is being such a delightful creative muse, as both a beta-reader/brainstormer/virtual-shoulder-to-cry-tears-of-laughter-upon and an artist. In a very short amount of time, she sketched, traced, inked, and colored these spectacular drawings of the main characters:
With many of these character designs, it was like Aerin was reading my mind. It’s uncanny, really. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to see my characters come alive like this.
It’s easy to run out of steam when writing strictly by oneself. Collaborating with a highly creative mind makes all the difference. (Plus, it’s not just my project anymore. Aerin’s put so much effort into the project, I feel I have to do my part to finish the story so it all doesn’t go to waste! :D)
As I’m writing this post (2/9/17), my current word count is 7k words and the rising action has only just begun. I can tell already that there are scenes in need of rewriting and ideas in need of refining, but my focus right now is to put the entire story, from start to finish on virtual paper. I’ll worry about making the middle readable later.
P.S. Although Morgan Freeman is a real person whose existence is not limited to the pages of Cliche, there is a character in the story whose face-claim is, indeed, Morgan Freeman. There was really no one else I could imagine for that particular character.
Just picture Morgan Freeman wearing a fuzzy cardigan and round glasses that droop down his nose as he reads an old book and you’ve got my character.