Losing NaNoWriMo (again)

Skyrim - night with northern lights at High Hrotgar

A land of magic, borderline beauty and weathered remnants of golden ages long past, faded into myth. Skyrim – or my current writing project?

I could still “win” the National Novel Writing Month, if I were to write a “supernarrative” tying together my disparate (not desperate) stories. Say, a few paragraphs in which the main character is bored and drops by the library. He starts reading a fantasy book (insert story 1) but grows bored and picks another (insert story 2), but after a few chapters puts it back and starts reading a third. After the fourth, he gives up and goes home. :p

Not doing that, though. I am pretty happy with what I have learned from my stories, but none of them got anywhere close to 50 000 words this time.


I could blame Skyrim, I guess, although it is anybody’s guess whether I had just come up with more new stories instead of extending the old. Certainly the last (and still ongoing story, Oktagonien, is inspired by Skyrim. When I say “inspired by”, as usual I don’t mean some kind of fanfic. Rather, as I have described before, what happens when I make a derivative work is roughly as follows:

1) I get acquainted with the original work, which is usually not a book but some other medium.

2) I condense the story down to a short paragraph or even a long sentence.

3) I expand that short paragraph into a whole new story, which has little in common with the original work except for that paragraph. In other words, you could boil both of the stories down to the same paragraph, if you approached them from just that angle. But you would probably not think of the original story while reading my story. The forest may have roughly the same shape when seen from a plane, but the trees are all different.

In the case of Oktagonien and Skyrim, this really happened subconsciously, so I don’t actually have that paragraph. Let’s see if I can reconstruct it.

A continent where several sentient humanoid races live, mostly in separate territories, filled with magic and the remnants of civilizations dating far back into prehistory and fading into myth, is visited at key points of its history by heroes from a higher, more real world, who change the flow of history forever. This is the story of one of them.

The lore of the Tamriel (the continent where all the Elder Scrolls games take place) has grown steadily over the course of the series, and the latest game has a large number of books written at different times, some of them more reliable than others. This is one of the things I like about it, and a major inspiration for my Oktagonien story. In my story, the main character needs to delve into the prehistory of the land in order to learn what happened to the earlier visitors, so he can find out how to get back to the real world. The question not asked from the beginning is: Once he has learned the history of this world, will he still want to leave it?

Of course, the same could be asked about a lot of people and Skyrim, these days. It seems to be amazingly popular. I think this may be the first time in a great many years that I am actually having the same fad as other people at the same time. I did not really discover lolcats, caramelldansen or numa numa until they were already very nearly a blockable offense on the social networks. -_- But I think I had the Rubik’s Cube reasonably on time…

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