The Beginnings of The Elven Dilemma

As I mentioned in my last blog, I began writing this novel over 18 years ago, which is something that completely blows my mind. I was 11 when I wrote the first draft of this novel. 11. Who does that? Me apparently, and even though 11-year-old me was oh so naïve, 29-year-old me still appreciates those humble beginnings and has been struggling to get this novel to publishing quality ever since. This is my 3rd rewrite thanks to technology issues and overall growing pains throughout the years. So I wanted to share a little of my history and where this novel came from.

Growing up, I walked to school every day, and my absolute favorite part of the day was going to the library after school. My elementary school took up the majority of a city block, and the library was across the street. My parents both worked, so neither one of them minded that I would spend an hour or two in the library every day. I usually made it home before them anyway.

Now, when I was in 4th grade, my teacher had the class sit in a circle and read aloud together every day. Her book series of choice was the Magic Tree House series. I fell in love with the series, and I found myself checking them out from the library so I could read more and more. At some point between 4th and 6th grade, I saw an Anne McCaffrey book in the same area as the Magic Tree House books, and I thought, hmm, it has a dragon on the front. How bad could it be? And that was the beginning of Marie Lenore the author. Those Pern novels fueled my desire to write my own stories, and I did just that.

To be honest, I’m not sure where the idea came from to make my characters elves in this novel, but my best guess would be video games. I loved playing games like Baldur’s Gate and Champions of Norrath and Dark Cloud (anyone else play that one? I don’t think any of the characters were elves, but Toan looked like one). My favorite race to play in games was always the elven race. I loved how graceful and beautiful they were, and as a clumsy girl whose awkward stage lasted way too long, I yearned for a life like the ones I imagined them having. I also watched a lot of anime, specifically Sailor Moon (still my favorite). The alien characters, Alan and Ann, in Sailor Moon R sure looked a lot like elves, and I recall drawing them constantly and designing my original protagonists based on them. And then of course The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was released right after I turned 12, so no doubt I drew continued inspiration from Tolkien.

From the time that I initially started this novel to now, the title has changed twice, all but three of the characters’ names have changed at least once, and the plot has changed twice. Most of this is simply because I grew up as I wrote it, and while I don’t have the very first version of it anymore, I do have the cringe worthy version from 2004 that somehow turned the characters into vampires (I blame Anne Rice).

In all, I’m grateful for where I started. I know that my experiences throughout life have led me to this point, but if I hadn’t started this novel as a naïve 11-year-old girl, I don’t think I would have the same appreciation for writing as I do today.