So, this isn’t a story. Sorry about that. Instead, I decided I should talk a bit about my plans for Lisa Stenton, where it’s going, and where I see difficulties, not in that order. So, spoilers ahead soon for literally anyone reading this (because this is information I’ve never shared with anyone.) But if you don’t care, read on! I will make a mention of where the spoilers actually begin, so it’s safe to keep reading for now.
First, when I started the Lisa Stenton shorts, I wrote them as just that: short stories. The more I write, however, the more it (perhaps inevitably) is turning into an actual novel, and I actually don’t like that. For one, I’m not really writing novels at this point in my career because I get bored with the characters/story after about 8-10,000 words. Now, I’m already at the point with Lisa’s stuff, and luckily I still like everything that’s going on, but it’s still a concern for me.
Another concern is that I never wrote it as if it would be a novel. The first three chapters all happen weeks a part, so if I were to make it a novel I would condense it into days at the most. Now, this isn’t a big problem, but it does change some subtle things. I wanted the shorts to be “snippets” of her life, not “the next important thing” that happened.
She’s also a bad protagonist. I don’t have a clear goal for her to be working towards, for one. Right now she’s still just learning about the supernatural world. In the same vein, I have no character arc set up for her. This isn’t as much of an issue, as I’m realizing I’m apparently writing her as an unsympathetic jerk, and I can make that change over time, but it’s not an intentional thing going on there. Those things make me scared to move on, because I don’t have a novel structure I’m really basing it off of. Of course, the most important thing is that I like the characters and the story, so I shouldn’t worry about writing myself into a corner when I have some semblance of a plan.
Alright: spoilers ahead here. Where is the story going, and what is that semblance of a plan? Before I get to that, let me give you the big picture of this world I’m building. The most important thing is that everything derives it’s power from belief. Supernatural creatures are stronger the more prevalent they are in folklore. In our world, most people don’t believe werewolves exist in our world, but they are given life through our ideas of them. This contrasts old, pagan gods like the Norse, Greek, Chinese, Egyptian, etc. Today’s society doesn’t really believe that those gods ever truly existed in any form, so in my world they simply are immortal beings with no power. So you can use “belief” as a gauge to tell how powerful a supernatural creature would be in my world.
It’s the same thing with the magic. I’m not quite sure if this will work the way I want it to, but right now, the only constraint is your ability to believe something is possible. You could fly if you truly believed you were capable of it. This is why the humans in the supernatural world have formed guilds. They specialize in things because it’s a lot easier to teach somebody to create magic ink if you show them it’s possible. Lineages have their own powers and specialties because doing magical things without anyone to learn from is basically impossible. I also like the idea of bloodlines being directly related to your supernatural abilities, but I don’t have a proper justification for that just yet. As a side note: Lisa totally has a power, but I have no idea what it is. The only inkling I’ve got was maybe it’s her power to believe in other people, giving them power, but I don’t think this really fits with her character very much.
So, all of this ties in to where I’m going. But there’s one big piece of lore I haven’t mentioned yet: The Old War (as I am calling it as of this very moment). The Old War is the reason the majority of every people don’t know about the supernatural world. About 3,000 BC and prior, the world was overrun with the supernatural. It was part of every day life, and because everybody knew they existed, they were incredibly powerful. Think of this time as an advanced civilization. (Not Space Age, mind you.) The world was far more advanced than even the Romans managed, and precious little is known about this time. That’s because the Old War was a century long battle between the humans and the supernatural to wrestle control for the Earth, and the humans won. With their victory, they all but erased the supernatural off the map, utterly destroying their power by doing so. Because of this, that’s the way it’s remained ever since. In Lisa’s time, it is debated to this day whether or not that war was good or bad. On the upside, it gave humans control of their lives, but on the downside it set technology back extremely far. (I’m sort of basing all of this on technology archaeologists have found that confuse our understanding of how advanced the people were back then, like the Antikythera mechanism.)
What does that have to do with Lisa’s story? Absolutely nothing… yet.
But it does tie in with what her entrance to the supernatural community means. First off, and perhaps most importantly, there is no extra plane of existence in this world. The Earth is all we’ve got. This brings a lot of challenges writing an urban fantasy, because it makes it so I also have to hide the events of this story from the public the entire time I’m writing. (Although big events can leak through like in other series. I have no qualms with that.) All that being said, I do want their to be action, and I want swords to be involved somehow, since I’m an epic fantasy writer after all, but I don’t know how to make it work. I have no “cover story” I can use from the real world to justify the true meaning behind what’s happening in mine, and it’s especially hard if I want to use swords rather than just using plain old guns. So, I still have to give that quite a bit more thought.
Lastly: what’s in Lisa’s house? Well, saying it flat out will be disappointing, but in the context of the story I think it’ll come across as a breath of relief. Most importantly, it is an extremely dangerous being. When Lisa described what happened to Will, he recognized that the only things that could do what it did were powerful and dangerous, so that’s why he warned her not to go back home. What he doesn’t know is that that creature is bound in servitude of Lisa’s parents, and effectively under contract to keep her safe. This will take some time to be revealed in Lisa’s actual story, but that’s what’s going on. I don’t know what to call this beast just yet, but his name is Reed. He is a body-snatcher, and without warning or approval, can take direct and complete control of somebody’s body. This is what he did to Lisa when he wrote her suicide note. He did this as an introduction, since he recognized her discovering the supernatural world. (It was also his way of showing his annoyance of having leeches in the house.) Now, what does Reed do? Well, he reads. Lisa’s mother named him based off the same principle that she names leeches. This isn’t his real name, but it’s hard to pronounce so they just call him Reed. He reads ancient manuscripts from the Old War, which is what Lisa’s parents go off every spring to collect more of.
As an aside to everything I’ve already said, Lisa and Doc will have an Ash/Pikachu relationship, except in this circumstance she does it because she knows it annoys/disturbs the rest of the supernatural world to have a leech by her side all the time. She does it because she genuinely likes Doc, being one of the only people that was introduced to the leeches on her own terms.
So that’s pretty much everything I have planned for Lisa Stenton’s story. The upcoming chapters will be her and Will going off to do something that I don’t have planned, and it will be a little while before she goes back home, not knowing what’s there and being terrified to return. I don’t plan on continuing the story for a few months at least, because I’ve got other stuff I want to be working on, but also I need to iron out some of the above details before I’ll let myself continue.
6 thoughts on “Story — My Lisa Stenton Notes”
Not bad. I feel like there wasn’t a whole lot of new info in here for me, because I feel like we’ve talked about 90% of what you’ve got up there before. lol.
I can see how it’s both interesting and paralyzing that you’ve got a broad idea but nothing concrete on how to achieve it.
Especially since I’ve been listening on a lot of specific podcasts on “how to write a novel” from Writing Excuses, and I’m basically doing it all wrong because I didn’t go into this with the intent of writing a novel!
Sounds interesting. I believe I’ve heard stories utilizing a similar belief system. Will supernatural creatures then inherit their supposed weaknesses? That might help introduce the epic fantasy sword fights, or at least interesting implements.
So then would gods forgotten but written down “die”? And be resurrected when someone rediscovers the concept of their existence, or are they created by the *idea* and exist indefinitely henceforth?
If so, fiction writers must be the single most influential beings in this verse. I wonder how the re-imagining of mythologies would affect the supernatural though.
This sort of thing has been done before. My idea here is that you can basically do anything as long as you believe it to be possible. So fiction writers would be pretty ordinary. Unless you could somehow write a fake story you knew with absolute certainty that it was true, when if it wasn’t, making new things like that would be basically impossible. And as far as the gods, go, it’s sort of a spoiler, so read the next sentence if you care enough. All God’s in all mythologies are real and immortal. The only factor is that people need to believe in them to give them power.
No, no, I mean, fiction writers can make books, stories that change the image of mythological creatures. Some fiction writers might write a story and create a cult, he won’t be able to do any of the magic at first, but the people under him will, because they believe, and maybe he may begin to as well.
Hmm, so new gods can be created by believing in them then, or does their creation retroactively create a past?
Oh, I get it now. I hadn’t thought of the implications of creating belief in other people, that’s pretty neat. I think it would be hard to make new gods. Many monotheistic religions might inadvertently give The Great One power (the moniker I have given to the god of all the major religions).
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