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I'm working on my camp nano (and avoiding the writing part right now). The nano started as a rewrite of a story that I wrote ages ago and has evolved into something I really, really like. My favourite thing about it? I have actually managed to make an interesting main character. His name is Nasir, he's determined to the point of excluding himself from his peers and borderline anti-hero with his ignorance of issues that are not directly related to him.

I don't even know where to start with this sprawling epic. At the moment it's 100k long, and I'll definitely try to keep it under 120k. There's stuff that needs to be trimmed away. It's my kind of fantasy: pseudohistorical take on the early mechanisation of the wars AKA people are starting to move the weight of the army to guns. It's partly a mystery, partly a love story, and mostly a story about growing up.

The story started as a a pet project where I tried to subvert as many annoying tropes I could. It's my "If you want that, write it yourself!". There was a list of things people were tired of seeing in Young Adult Novels. Now, I usually don't read books categorized as "Young Adult", but the list had many things that I understood. Things that I'd encountered elsewhere, tropes that should be subverted once in a while. I wish I'd still have the list saved somewhere... It might've been on tumblr?

Anyway, I took an old story I had and started applying new things to it. It evolved to the story I'm writing right now. In no order of importance, some of the things that I worked into the plot.

A Non-homogeneous cast:
It's a story set in a fantasy world. There's no need to populate it with white dudes. The main character is Nasir and his cultural heritage is in many ways my fantasy equivalent of the Moors. He is a foreigner to the place where the story is set, but so are many others. Of the "main four" only one represents the local culture that draws from German naming traditions and climate. I've written in people of various faiths (even people of the same culture carrying different beliefs) and people who are rather agnostic. I have people of different sexualities, I have young and old (Nasir is 13-20 during the story and the other narrator of the story, Marckel, 13-40ish). The cast is 50/50 women and men.

It's all about Love:
I don't mind reading about people falling in love. If I did, I don't know what I do in the corners of fandom that I live in. I, however, do not think love is a good motivation for a story. What I'm trying to say is, there are stories that are all about love, but there are also stories that use love as a cheap motivation. So yes, I have people falling love (it felt natural as characters are going to grow from children to adults during the story. Sexuality is a part of that transition to many). Also, I couldn't resist. Marckel and Tanim ar so compatible and destined to make each other both happy and unhappy. I also do not believe in easy love. Hardships ahoy.

Why's there always a trio?
Now, this is nothing that is a problem per se, just something that's everywhere. So, Nasir doesn't have trio to help him. It's just he and a girl called Mihri. And no, there's no sexal tension between them. That is also a thing that I wanted to have in. Boys and girls can be friends.

The Hero's a hero:
I like shades of grey. I adore shades of grey. I freaking love shades of grey. I don't think there's a single character who gets through the story without erring, breaking rules and questioning right and wrong. Nasir has a bit of anti-hero streak to him, Marckel is maybe not deserving the treatment he gets, but oh well.

Drama free [x]sexuality:
This is a story without 'coming out'. There's no homophobia. Why? Because I didn't need to write it in. There's nothing wrong with stories that feature the struggle to break the 'normal'. I didn't need to define normal in a way that would exclude people, and I don't need to tell the story I'm not sure I can make justice to. This topic is on my list of things to do differently because many fantasies set in the past take the most conservative approach to world building. I'm aware that there are fantasies that are more liberal, and that is the fantasy I wanted to create.

Chronological narrative:
Okay, this one I made up myself. I still havent found anyone complaining about having the narrative being in chronological order. It was just my ambitions and my need to experiment that made me write two different plotlines - one advancing chronologically, the other working it's way from end to beginning. I think it works, but I haven't had anyone test it out yet :)

These are just the tip of the iceberg, so to say. There are many things I'm not sure how to do with. I know my main characters are both guys - I kinda want to have a woman there, but I do not know If I want to start genderbending now. I'll look into it once this draft is finished

I've been thinking about starting to publish this one as a online serial. That's why I've worded some things rather vaguely. In case this would spoil someone someday. I haven't touched on major plot elements because of the possibility of me 'publishing' someday soon(ish).

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