The Story Develops
How did Irantrium develop?
Just like planets forming from the aether of the vast universe, or how Rome developed from nothing, far into an foreboding empire - an artificial world of human construction cannot be rushed. It gets smashed into bits, potentials thrown into the winds of time, new forms sprout fresh from desolation; you get the point.
Irantrium, still to this day, is no exception.
Back in 2015, I drew three drawings. I've lost them now, but they were so tiny; so little of a world ready to live its life. These drawings included elementals, a strange map, and two characters: Irantiul and Asgoroth.
The premise was that of a standard dark-side evil duo taking on the world with might and malice - hell yeah! You may already feel familiar with that though. Yep - Darth Vader and the Emperor. Irantiul taking Vader's place and Asgoroth ascending the throne of pure, unrelenting evil. How original.
Let's stop that there. I was fourteen. Three pictures to the name "Irantrium", and an awful mess of the first few pages to a story even a little child would probably struggle to read. Quickly, it developed into something new.
Take Sauron from Lord Of The Rings and divide him into five brothers that respect each other much like the Skeksis from The Dark Crystal: that's essentially how I had written my villains.
To my surprise, my fourteen-year-old brain actually made them bearable. They were by far the most developed figures in my world so far, forgetting the whole Sauron vibe they annoyingly inherited, but they worked.
Asgoroth and Irantiul became part of that five as brothers, along with Ikal, Iluntek, and Delhroid.
Then, it went downhill again. A teen story developed! Just what fantasy needs, right? That was sarcasm of course, fantasy does not need more one dimensional teens that somehow successfully take on empires, dragons, the lot.
But I went with that. For two years. I'd call it a waste of time, but honestly, flowing through endless cliches and unending jarring dialogue that'd challenge the star wars prequels, made me learn so much. I required those growing pains to understand the issues in what I was doing. However, as my writing abilities increased, the story itself became incredibly outdated for my ageing head.
The tone and the wording became more fluent, and the characters evolved - my favourite being Yent, the stereotypical grandfather figure to the stereotypical teen who stereotypically and foolishly would take on the whole wide world.
Well, more years passed and I stopped writing the main story mostly. Being fifteen and sixteen and all really gets you distracted from the good details in life. I lost hope for it all too. I hadn't learnt yet that writing was much like chess: one wrong move in the opening may cause checkmate to you in the future.
I got my checkmate in my story when I realised the bland plot itself was just doomed. I hated it. I loved the villains and Yent. Everything else? I despised. My writing was adequate enough to tell properly, but in the end the bad plot delivered me the ultimate checkmate writing block.
So I moved it all onto a different word document and started fresh, removing 60 thousand words from Irantrium, now starting at 0.
2019 came along and construction began on a vaster, more complex, realistic plot. Irantiul - one of the five brothers - became the protagonist of the plot. Yent survived the cut, becoming the main human protagonist too.
And there, hidden in the muck of my old writing: the race of the Engcolile. These were minions of Irantiul and his brothers you see, and one day I realised their strife. I discovered the disfigured chemistry between Irantiul and his former minions.
The newer - not newest - story revolved around this race of beings. Thrown in camps by humanity, forced to rebuild the cities they had once pillaged, and then readied for genocide. Irantiul comes forth after fifty years - this is all extremely shortened down - and finds a world where his mistakes as an incompetent leader had the most terrible conclusions.
As an egotistical beast, the story became that of the forsaken and the ignorant. I won't say anymore as it may ruin how the story has further developed to the present, but I've learned so much throughout the whole process. The plot is rich, the twists feel grounded and natural, and the characters are in-depth, unique - and I am so much happier with it all.
I go back to my metaphor about Chess and say, I learned how to craft a story by setting the plot up properly from the beginning. Everything has to work together at every change and move, just like Chess. Everything works together and efficiently, and for so long I failed to learn this. No book or video online ever explained this in detail.
If chapter five failed to encapsulate the information you needed, then you might ponder on for a few more moves/chapters feeling fine and unbothered, but then suddenly, you hit writers block because you discover that you had in fact blundered many moves/chapters ago. So you go back to chapter five and tweak it - but oh no - suddenly, chapter two sets up so much of what was in chapter five, and now chapter two has no payoff. So you go to chapter two and correct it, but by this time, you've had to remove an important page of dialogue that sets up your secondary characters as actual interesting people that the readers should be interested in. You try adding it back somewhere but anywhere else makes the pace of the story clunky. Then, you find your story an unfinished mess. It stops and starts with parts cut out, and yeah, the process becomes something you'd rather throw away entirely.
And that can go on, and on. And it's what I would fall into so much.
This can also be remedied by something I'm still learning to do: just get the first draft down and don't look back until you're done. Then after the editing comes in. This always daunted me as I didn't want to end the book and realise chapter one set up the whole book to fail and there is nothing I can do about it. A weird anxiety, but one that hindered me a lot.
But now, with my writing skills that I am very confident with, an imagination I always put my faith with, irantrium comes together well and It feels me with hope that through all the hurdles of trial and error, failure and sacrifice, that I've come out the other side a much more competent and skilled writer.
I still have a long way to go and I won't publish Irantrium until it is ready, but know, it's all a process, and mine has just been horrifically long and bloody terrifying.