Writing spotlight number 2 is indie author/writer Chris. A fantasy writer predominantly on Wattpad where you can read his fantasy epic for free. I had the pleasure of talking to Christopher about his work and he wanted to sum up his writing life which is great. So without further introduction, please enjoy his story on creating his work The Search for the Eoz Potion. He had a rather philosophical and religious outlook on his work, which was different.
Everything is Temporary
I’m not a good writer. I struggle to fill in the minor details of a story and to have them amount to any kind of larger purpose. I’m also really bad with typos, but that’s not relevant to this blog pist…I mean, “post.” (I also have a cheesy sense of humor.)
About five years ago, I had an idea for a fantasy story. I had never written one before and didn’t really even enjoy reading them much, but my kids and I had just finished the Harry Potter series and were struggling to find something new to read together. Like any good father/writer, I decided I would write one for them. This is where my problem with being a bad writer becomes important. Better, I suppose, to be a bad writer than a bad father.
Frustrated, I decided to turn to the children for help. I explained the basic idea – a girl searching in a secret world for a magic potion to cure her sick friend – then gave each child a character to help develop. They came up with the personality, backstory, physical description, and all the other details. We mapped out a basic plot diagram and then I worked on fitting all the pieces together into one coherent story. Once I was able to convince them to hold off on the giant half chicken/half penguin monster until the sequel (stay on the lookout for that one, folks…), we ended up with what I thought was a pretty solid story about sacrifice and friendship that we called “The Search for the Eoz Potion.” I have been posting it free on Wattpad here.
So that took care of the specific details of the story, but what about the second part of writing I’m bad at, giving the story a larger meaning? This is something I always overthought as a writer, but this time around it kind of took care of itself.
About the same time that I was writing the book, I had the opportunity to learn from a man who is both a Jewish Rabbi and a Lutheran Pastor. Over the course of a week long lecture series, he taught about the original Hebrew text of some of the more famous passages from both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible including the book of Ecclesiasties. He taught us that the famous proclamation from Solomon that “everything is meaningless” is better translated as everything is “vapor” or “breath.” The Hebrew word “chevel” that is often translated as “meaningless” is better understood, he argued, as referring to something that is temporary.
So where is the connection, you may ask. Well, I have always shied away from stories about fantasy worlds because of how complex they can be to write (again, see opening line about my writing ability), but also because as a reader myself I often found them to be far fetched and removed from reality. I preferred stories that spoke to what I saw around me, but when I would try to write them, they were too boring to even force my closest friends and family to read.
Chevel solved these problems. It gave me a better appreciation of how books that create fantasy worlds that exist parallel to our own reality can help us to better understand the world. What we experience everyday is meaningless, it is temporary, it is a vapor that exists only briefly. There is, in fact, something more. Obviously when we put it in its biblical context it means something much more complex than a simple blog post could uncover, but I’ve learned that fantasy writing is far more consequential than I ever truly appreciated.
In “The Search for the Eoz Potion,” for example, the main characters’ time in the “fantasy world” gives them a deeper sense of purpose in the “real world.” There is a moment when one of the characters has a flashback to her life back home. She remembers the pressures her parents put on her to be the best at school, in her extracurricular activities, and in sports. She recognizes that her inability to ever live up to their expectations is crippling her, and she then comes to the following realization:
“School, student council, softball, none of it mattered in the Garden. She liked that. She had one goal, one thing to focus on – finding the Eoz Potion.”