Discover more from Chronic Creativity
What My Stories are Really About
It's not the sentence structure, world, or lore
Unboxing Chronic Creativity - 6 min read
Like many creators, I have a plethora of ideas. They bleed from my eyes and haunt my dreams. The passionate fire blazes in the back of my mind. It’s shut out like a nightmare I can’t avoid. Dread of writing it and the anxiety of not writing it hang like a sharpened blade over my throat.
Or perhaps that’s just the Lovecraftian horror that’s possessed me.
Either way, most of my stories bloom from a random idea into a beloved story.1 I haven’t finished many of them. But I have noticed that when a piece of my goes into its creation, it transforms.
Sometimes it’s a small piece such as a hobby, interest, or curiosity. Other times, it strikes deep into the heart of who I am. One story ties deeply into multiple struggles I’ve had in my relatively short life thus far. Ironically, it was never supposed to be more than mythos…
A KERNEL PLANTED
Many years ago, I had a nightmare about an otherworldly being that could crash onto planets, survive, and turn its prey into a strange, paint-like stain on the ground. I wondered what kind of being could possibly do such a thing. With the help of my ex at the time, I developed a trilogy arc in an all-alien sci-fantasy setting.
With a vast universe and the deities playing an integral role, I decided to write up a chronological mythology compilation. The first two shorts garnered the most reception I have ever received.
People were already asking for the book.
Safe to say, I took the bait for validation and began to stretch the mythos into something more. Or, at the very least, a short novelette of the founding mythology.
A ROMANCE REMOVED
I knew the main antagonist in this portion of the mythos, a deity named Sytrix. Unlike his siblings, he played the final and, to him, the lesser part of creation. As a result, he became envious of his family.
I also wanted Elthys, the goddess who created animals and sentient beings, to play a vital role. In the beginning, she had a romance with the leader of the Celests. The Celests are the only race created by the primary deities Ydris & Yshena.
This sounded good on paper. A romance between a deity and creation creates sparks in fiction, often seen as forbidden. Yet the more I worked out the details, the more this love interest blossomed into a reflection of myself.
Then the magic happened.
I named the leader Vishnear. He became a gentle and nervous male thrust unexpectedly into power after two others failed to lead. He grew up around other species, becoming much more welcoming of them than his fellow Celests. While this can be a mirror for racism, it mirrored how I befriended the oddballs & outcasts of society.
As he progressed, I gave him a secret illness and an unfortunate ability to fall into manipulation. The story began to write itself.* I knew he’d have to overcome the massive amounts of doubts he had in his abilities. I knew he’d want to hide this illness as it was viewed as a curse on their society.
Most importantly, I knew he’d have to make a sacrifice to break the hold manipulation held on him.
Much like I had to make myself.
MY INNER DEMONS
In this story I call Celestial Origins, I ripped open the deepest parts of myself for others to see. I started with my anxiety and doubts over morality, illness, and capabilities. Then, I inlaid these into Vishnear’s character.
My illness cut off my ability to create for years. Vishnear had a tremendous change in his life due to illness. When my Crohn’s was at its worst, I was vulnerable to manipulation, leading me into a toxic relationship. Vishnear falls victim to manipulation due to his own insecurities.
As I entered adulthood, I questioned what I believed. I wondered if I was doing the right thing or if it could be too late to do anything right. Depressing, I know. Though I feel many people go through something similar at least once.
Like me, Vishnear wonders if what he did in the past and the present aligns with his morality. He’s trying to survive and deals with immense guilt for surviving.
Finally, like Vishnear, I made sacrifices to escape my toxic relationship. I cut ties with my ex, his parents (who I loved to be around!), and my hopes for a future with him. I had to accept my path would be drastically different.
So much of this character is me.
CONNECTION IS KEY
I don’t have all the answers on how to do this correctly. I’m a fledgling author who continuously ignores her WIPs.
I can tell you that the more of your experiences you write about, no matter how subtle, the better your story will become. I’m not saying you make it all about you. I’m saying have characters go through similar struggles to you.
One of my characters had temporary paralysis of his legs. In a flashback, he beats himself up, laments over the future he’s given up, and fears being rejected. One reader who was a physical therapist mentioned I summarized the experience well.
How did I do this if I’d never experienced leg paralysis before?
I was able to due to my diagnosis with Crohn’s. While both are incredibly different, they have a similar grieving process. Both deal with regrets, messed-up plans, and fear. When I wrote that scene, it came from my thoughts and feelings months after my diagnosis. It came from the tears I shed and the frustration I vented at God.
You don’t have to have the exact experience.
But if you have a similar experience and do proper research, your connection to the reader will grow. They’ll feel what the character feels and, in turn, what you felt. It’s not a direct sharing of experience.
But this sharing matters.
It allows you, the writer, to process the emotion and pain you’ve experienced healthily.* It creates a safe space for others who’ve gone through similar struggles. It lets them feel seen and heard. For others, it allows them to understand things they may not have gotten a chance to do otherwise.
My stories are about my experiences wrapped in a fun wrapper and filled with bittersweet goo. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Do you agree?
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Well, beloved by me and a select few. A beloved story doesn’t have to be well-known in my opinion.