Wednesday, June 10, 2015

TRIVIA: DIGITARUM - Inspiration

Digitarum is a world that required a lot of thought and prior planning. Like most writers, a lot of the ideas for the story came from things that existed before. Below is a list of some of the things that influenced me during the process along with some other fun facts.

Do note that there will be SOME spoilers due to the nature of trivia. This installment of DIGITARUM Trivia will be fairly surface-level and will mostly she'd light on the into some of the deeper influences and references, but since the book is still fairly new and not a lot of people have read it yet, I will keep this pretty light. This set will focus on earlier chapters as well as how certain characters/things from later on got their names. At a later date, I may delve into something a bit more substantial.

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The Pilot
I find that one way to test a concept is to start out by writing a short story. Longer short stories work the best, but even a 3,000 or 4,000 word story can help test out  an idea. If something isn't working within that time or I have said everything I can on the subject, then it probably doesn't need the full novel treatment - at least in my opinion. DIGITARUM initially began as a short story of around 7,000 words. Between the initial test drive and the final product, there were a lot of things that shifted around and here are some of the little bits of trivia regarding this shift:

  • Though originally written for a writing workshop class, I always envisioned this concept as being part of something bigger
    • It was originally written less to fulfill an assignment and more to field test the idea of made-up gods haphazardly forming a world.
    • The contents of this story served as the basis for the first two chapters in the novel
  • The latter chapters of the novel were inspired by a companion idea that I had about this sort of world, but in the distant future
    • For a long time I had no idea how to connect a more futuristic setting with the world I initially invented in the short story and it wasn't until I sat down to construct DIGITARUM's outline that I really know how I wanted it all to come together
    • In order for this merger to work, some of the details on both ends needed to be changed around
  • Rila, Solan, and Sulac all made appearances in the original story, but they weren't named as such
    • They were nameless, relatively speechless characters that were just stand-in figures for the first people that the gods created. When the story became a novel, they had a bit more room to become significant and were then awarded some names.
  • The common folk were never originally referred to as such in the original story
    • They were also originally green-skinned rather than the baby blue color that matches the gods' complexions
  • While all of the major plot points of the pilot story carry over to the novel, the vast majority of the details shifted in order to have more relevance to the plot
    • Rica originally put down little geometric decorations rather than blades of material that people could craft cloth with. 
    • The tower's floors are filled up instantly in the story whereas the gods never actually fill up even half of the floors in the final iteration of the tale
    • The writing style and tone also needed a major overhaul to bring it up to my writing skill level at that time since the original story was a bit behind in that regard.

Mythology
This was obviously a huge part of the writing process for me since the goal of the novel was to effectively produce my own mythology. In order to create something that felt authentic, I wanted to draw from mythologies that already existed. Norse, Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Vietnamese are the classical mythologies that I am most familiar with though I also have some familiarity with Celtic and Japanese Lore. Christianity and Hinduism (primarily the visual aspect of how gods look in the Hindu religion) are the two primary current religions which also had the heaviest influences on the narrative.

More modern tales also influenced me during the process. Modern day superhero teams like THE AVENGERS, X-MEN and "Team Arrow." Novels like, 1984, BRAVE NEW WORLD, THE GIVER, and others I'd hesitate to mention for spoiler reasons (as well as some that had more subconscious influence) all served as inspiration for how I ultimately shaped the greater story that is told in DIGITARUM.

References to other works

  • The title of Knight Commander is a nod to my favorite RPG series: Bioware's DRAGON AGE. Though I'm sure such a rank existed well before these games came out, the reference points to this series.
  • The Knight Riders, while visually reminiscent of a TRON Light Cycle, are also a reference to the 1980's Television show. Though the vehicles in DIGITARUM have pretty much nothing to do with the car featured in that show, it felt like a fun Easter egg to throw in.
  • Some of the chapter titles are references to other works like the chapter entitled "Law and Order."


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Hopefully you've enjoyed these fun facts about my creative process. At a later date I'm thinking I might share things like what changed from the initial outline, why certain plot decisions were made, and where I got inspiration for some of the characters. That will be very hard to do without dipping into some serious spoiler territory, but I think there are some more fun things that I'd eventually like to divulge.

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