ljlee: where I work & play (workspace)
[personal profile] ljlee posting in [community profile] write_away
All of us here, from what I can tell, write stories to share them whether commercially or over the net. Does anyone have stories without plans for publication in any form, strictly for personal enjoyment? Our own[personal profile] sarillia discussed writing for personal enjoyment, and I also have a few that are for my eyes only. They are in various stages of completion without a clear end: I just pull them out from time to time to add to and edit, or just to read.

I like these stories because I can be as ridiculous as I want to be without thinking of quality or acceptability--it's just a fun romp through the farthest reaches of my mind, where I can be totally me. I thought I'd describe one of these stories and would love to hear about yours in as much or as little detail as you like.

The most active of my private stories, both in terms of writing and re-reads, takes place in an East Asia-style fantasy world. It's set mostly in a kingdom called Suro ruled by a line of shaman queens. (They have powers like telekinesis and extrasensory perception, and are revered religious as well as political figures. They're not the only ones with such powers, but the royal line is the most powerful. Only women, but not all women, had these powers the last I checked, though it looks like men are also genetic carriers.) The country is invaded by a race of nomads called the Assur, and the young queen is forced to marry an older warrior-aristocrat of the invaders. She has a daughter, Kaya, but later escapes to join the Suro resistance, abandoning her daughter and husband. She then marries a Suro noble in the resistance and has children with him, including a daughter named Yerim.

The story begins when the resistance triumphs over the invaders and drives them out. The teenaged Yerim is now the new shaman queen-in-exile, her mother having abdicated in her favor. Yerim comes at the head of her army to reclaim the palace, only to come face to face with Kaya, who was the invaders' puppet queen for almost 20 years since their mother left. Kaya didn't go with her father's people because she would never have a place with them, and wanted to formally surrender her palace as the outgoing queen fully expecting this to be her last living act. Yerim doesn't even know at the time they were sisters, yet she decides to let Kaya go over the objections of her followers. (Later, after she learns the truth, she has a Fridge Horror moment and ensuing angst on realizing her parents would have let her kill her sister.)

And then comes a convoluted series of events where Kaya is framed for an attempt on Yerim's life and is captured, then sacrifices her life for an injured Yerim only to end up blind and alive. The sisters grow somewhat reconciled and then Kaya steals the man Yerim had a crush on for years. Kaya and the guy are in love and happy when war breaks out again between the two peoples and she decides to up and leave--to join her father's people, everyone assumes.

In fact Kaya makes her way to a third country, a distant empire called Harren, and offers to marry into the Imperial family so they will be in possession of the royal bloodlines of both Suro and Assur. This gives Harren a potential claim to both nations, meaning Suro and Assur had better stop fighting each other if neither wants to be easy pickings for the empire. Kaya's families in both nations feel betrayed that she's brought this threat to their doorsteps, but she reminds them that they're all relatives of Harren royalty now and have a great deal to gain if they can keep from each others' throats. It was her way of saving both her peoples from constant warfare by forcing them to unite against a common threat, even if she had to be that threat. The whole thing would probably have worked better if the existence of Harren were better foreshadowed, but then the whole story is rough and incomplete.

As if the whole thing weren't already enough of a soap opera, it turns out Yerim is infertile and she and her husband (Kaya's ex, who married Yerim after Kaya left) have no children. What do you know, Kaya was pregnant back when she left for Harren and her first child is actually Yerim's husband's biological son. Yerim begs Kaya to leave the child with her to raise, drama ensues, and Kaya finally relents, using her son's presence there to extract more concessions from Suro. And, of course, she ends up doing something she had sworn never to do: She abandons her child. The last scene I wrote so far has her parting with her family and the ex on a friendly but bittersweet note.

Over the years that I've played around with this thing, my thoughts on the story and characters have evolved quite a bit. I obviously started out with Kaya as the hero, but I now I see her as more a protagonist villain or a ambiguous hero at best.  it was Yerim, whom I thought was so goody-two-shoes, who grew on me quite a bit. There was this one exchange in particular that brought home how damaged and destructive Kaya was, when she said good-bye to her former boyfriend at the end:

Kaya: I'm really happy for you and my sister. I always thought you two would be good together.
Myeong-hyeon: You did?
Kaya: Of course! Why else would I have gotten between the two of you?
Myeong-hyeon: (shocked pause)
Kaya: I'm joking, silly! Well, half joking. I'll always be half-and-half.

That more than anything else told me what this character was like, about her mixed motivations and the malice she might have held underneath all her protestations of noble intent. It reminded me of how unknowable people are, even to themselves.

So, that's my  "private fiction," (not to be confused with private eye fiction) the most complete and least silly of the lot. Do share yours, if you like!
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