Too Much Pressure, Trying to Avoid a Rewriting Loop in the Future // WIP Update

December 2nd, 2020 // WIP Update

Hi, everyone!

We’re talking about Lightningborn again in this month’s WIP Update. In my last update, I briefly described the origin story of Lightningborn and why it is still in my head. I’m proud to say that I’ve made some progress updating the pitch and the story overall. I still have a long way to go – since I’m building a world from scratch – but I can say that I’ve made more progress than I thought.

I mentioned that Lightningborn is based on tarot cards, and now I have to make a disclaimer: it’s going to be loosely based on tarot cards. Part of me is still trying to decide if the tarot influence should be clear as day, or maybe not so obvious. In my last blog post regarding Lightningborn, I said that I was hoping to one day turn the podcast (or at least the concept) into an interactive game, a VR one, that would allow the viewer to learn the meaning of tarot cards as they play. This would probably be the only “version” of Lightningborn that would present as Lightningborn used to be in my head, plainly inspired by tarot cards.

Of course, now that I’ve done a bit more worldbuilding, I’m realizing that it might be wise to push the launch date later in the year, maybe to spring. I discussed all of my aspirations for the podcast – all the sound effects and voice actors I was dreaming about, but because of my impatience to share this story with everyone, I’ve found that I want to do it all myself, which may be a clown move, not sure yet.

I can admit that I am that person who doesn’t like to ask for help. (I’m working on it, okay?) If I didn’t already know Ghost Dawg, I probably would produce the podcast without music. So . . . we’ll see. I have been doing some research and digging around. I said that I wanted the podcast to be written in second person, with the viewer as the main character, so as far as interactivity goes, the podcast may be a solid “no”.

“No”, as in, “no, the audience can’t change the course of the story by making different choices.” This is what the VR script would be for, once I’ve made significant progress with the podcast and can spare some brain cells to making the story interactive.

From what I’ve gathered from my research, Lightningborn will be presented in three mediums, and one day, maybe four:

  • The podcast would be a dramatized audiobook, only (currently) with me reading all voices. The final script (and maybe snippets) would be available for my Patrons to read while they listen to the podcast. However, a transcript will be available on whatever platforms the podcast will be on.
  • The VR script would be an interactive retelling of Lightningborn, perhaps with the audience changing the fates of different characters. The VR script could take place before or after Lightningborn, but maybe with the same overall ending for the story, but not for the characters. As you can tell, I need to meditate on this version for a bit. This will also be the building blocks for the video game, which will be . . . who knows?
  • Lastly, my professor suggested to turn Lightningborn into a TV show one day, so eventually the pilot script will also be available for my Patrons to read as well, but only the first draft.

Now with this cleared up, what did I accomplish over the month? Not enough. 😭

Don’t get me wrong, progress is progress. I figured out a good deal of things for my work, but as I was brainstorming, I thought about my real life inspirations. You know how George R. R. Martin studied and retold historical events in his novels? I realized that I wanted to do the same, but maybe with Egyptian myths and ancient history. So by the time I realized this while I was still in the midst of worldbuilding, I felt like I hadn’t done enough because where are the myths and the parallels with their characters versus mine?

Obviously, I need to chill out, right? If I keep adding things, we may lose the magic in the story and I may never start writing episode one. But I can’t help but think about how much richer this might make Lightningborn. I was willing to try it, so these last few days have been filled with me brainstorming and reading. I’m going to pull up some documentaries soon and spend more time learning. (Also, this is when we have to consider taste versus technique. Like, my taste is good, but do I have the technique to duplicate what I like?)

Part of the delay is . . . I haven’t built a world from scratch in a long time. I forgot how much time it takes, just to build the world where the characters are. I forgot how much doubt and rewriting that this all involves. And now that I’m not in school, I’ve been dealing with some oddly crushing self doubt. I had to remember that college is usually the basic foundation of knowledge for some, and you build on it as you continue living. I really felt like I hadn’t learned enough in school, and the truth is that I hadn’t. You never stop learning, and I realized that I enjoy learning, too. So, long story short, I’m trying to go easier on myself (as I always am 😭) when it comes to creating work that my taste buds will approve.

With this in mind (the constant learning, possible rewrites, and self doubt) it only solidified the idea that I needed to push the launch date back. People sit and rewrite for years. I’ve done that before, too, for Blood of the Fallen. I have been editing/rewriting this novel since I finished it in my last year of high school. Four years straight, off and on. I was stuck in a rewriting loop.

One of my last classes before I graduated from SCAD involved turning the novel into a pilot script. The focus had been on Lucy Snow for years. I had written the first draft (and edited endlessly) with her as the main character, so when it came to the class, I thought I had the assignment in the bag. But guess what I discovered when I began writing? Axe was really the main character. And not only would this mean rewriting the entire book (because the new pilot with Axe as the main character made more sense and honestly, felt really good and solid), this meant throwing out some character arcs, or at least reworking them. Before the class ended, I had rewritten the pilot three times.

Stay safe! ~ Taia

Blood of the Fallen had been a project of mine since my last year in high school. I endured four years of rewrites. All gone, because of a new idea. A better idea, sure, but oh my god. 😭

I don’t want Lightningborn to go the same route. I guess this might be me admitting that I really need to give myself enough time to make sure everything about Lightningborn is solid. No plot events that don’t make sense. No unsteady character arcs. Each character needs to have a clear desire, obstacle, inner truth, lie, etc. It all has to be solid.

Lightningborn needs to be good. My best. My very best.

Not perfect. Not immaculate. But maybe the best I can do.

And that’s a lot of pressure . . .

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