I was one of those kids who was always writing although I hated reading until the 4th grade when I really fell hard for Anne of Green Gables and The Secret Garden.
However I didn’t try to start writing my first actually story until 5th grade. I didn’t know much about writing novels or books, but I was reading a lot of them.
I can’t remember being inspired by anything in particular to write this story. Although I think I was reading a lot of other fairy themed novels at the time such as The Faerie Path Series by Allen Frewin Jones, the Wicked Lovely Series by Marissa Marr, Faerie Wars books by Brennan Herbie, and the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer.
I actually still really enjoy books about fairies and other traditional fantasy elements.
The High Prince was a story I really enjoyed writing although I don’t remember a lot of it these days. I would write it in a thick notebook during class in school and then later that day type it up on my laptop.
**I’m sharing the summary below but due to it being an image, I copy and pasted the summary as well beneath it for those with screen readers.
Anastasia was living the ordinary life of a princess. She was blessed with annoying parents, a sister married to an apathetic lord, and the usual bothersome suitors. Until one night when she meets Aaron- the High Prince of Esmeralda. Suddenly Anastasia finds herself caught up in a dire battle between good and evil when a forgotten prophecy surfaces- the last thing she needs on her sixteenth birthday.
Swept away into a world of magic and beauty, Anastasia learns that the Council aren’t the only ones looking to control the foretold mysterious powers that she possess, Verriva is also looking to control her powers and take over the Council. The only problem, Anastasia doesn’t have any kind of magic. But there are others who believe she doesn’t have to have it. In fact, the kind of power Anastasia has is something even greater then magic- if only she could learn how to use it.
As Anastasia travels far across the beautiful and enchanting lands of Esmeralda, she seems to attract trouble where ever she goes. From battling psychotic enemies to dealing with her growing feelings for a boy who’s not even human, Anastasia learns that you don’t have to have magic to be a hero.
Against impossible odds can these young teens learn to control their new found powers and friend and unlock the secrets that threaten to destroy everything when danger haunts their every step? In a world where everyone has seemed to turn against them, they discover not only themselves, but something more powerful than magic.
My First Love was the Font Papyrus…
I continued writing this for a long time, eventually discovering the joy of Microsoft Word and it’s chapter organization system. That’s when I switched from writing in notebooks to writing online.
This was back in 2007 or 08 I believe.
Among that time, I also discovered different fonts you could choose from and erroneously chose to write my entire novel in Papyrus.
I was too young to know any better, it was 10 years before Ryan Gosling’s sketch about it on SNL.
Years later as a professional designer, I will be forever haunted by my choices at 12. I thought the font was perfect for the story because it seemed like it would be perfect for a fantasy novel.
The manuscript will never see the light of day in its original form.
Remembering the Good Times with this Novel
The novel topped out at around 50,000 or 80,000 words I believe. I remember it being either of those word counts because I remember finishing it and checking the word count recommendations for fantasy novels.
One of the blunders I did early on in this story is that at 12, I didn’t realize that Erin was the girl version of Aaron and for a good portion of the year, probably confused the majority of my friends and family who agreed to beta read it for me.
I remember I posted the story on Inkpop and I think it got a decent amount of good reviews. The next couple of novels I worked on and uploaded I think were more popular though. I still kept the original covers that other Inkpoppers made for the story. Although due to copyright purposes, I won’t be sharing them here.
Years later, I still really love Anastasia as a name. I think it has a really regal word sound and sounds great in a lot of different names. Plus there is so many possibilities for nicknames which my name does not.
This particular book also led to a lot of spin off ideas. I only really took a couple of them seriously before dropping them for the sci-fi novel I eventually finished in 10th grade.
My favorite spin off was “The Sayari” which had a really amazing cover an Inkie made me. It was so perfect.
What were the extra story materials I included?
I know I made a lot of extras for this story, I’m one of those people who loves swag and other “extra” sections included in the story.
One of the extras I made for this story was a glossary. I’ve always really enjoyed it when authors share glossaries, especially for fantasy and science fiction. Sometimes it’s hard to get a fantasy word or language’s meaning across so that’s why I really appreciate glossaries.
Another extra I made was a map, which is always another material I really enjoy seeing in fantasy novels. Unfortunately I don’t have the copy anymore, but I’ve always found maps in particular to be fascinating.
Especially the creativity and weird things that old maps included like dragons and sea monsters. So I love that fantasy maps usually try to copy that style.
I drew mine out on paper since I’ve never been very good at digital illustration. I think maps are great to include because they really help visualize the story for readers and the setting. And I think it helps illustrate the scale at which the story takes place.
How I feel about it Now
Looking back at my old work, I think I have grown a lot as a writer although there are still some areas I struggle with. However I think for my first finished novel, this was a good start. I never revised it after I finished, I just moved on to the next book.
Seeing how I wrote this at 12, it’s an accomplishment I’m pretty proud of even if my writing wasn’t the greatest. I think it shows that I had a lot of dedication to it and was really dedicated to being a writer even at that time.
I also think it taught me a lot about writing and joining Inkpop helped me a lot in improving my craft. The other Inkies have always been really dedicated to books and writing and I really appreciate that about them.
I think if I hadn’t found Inkpop, I would have struggled a lot with knowing where and how to improve after I finished this novel.
I don’t think this is a novel that I would come back to rewrite. I would probably take some of the concepts and characters though and re-purpose them for new stories later on.