Not even the little twiddles you write when you're twelve years old, that you look at a year or two later and cringe, and say, "What was I THINKING?!" You'll do that a lot, if you happen to be a writer. Heaven knows I do it with the stuff I wrote in grade school, and high school, and college. Including the opening of the Dangerverse.
However. Hidden within the cringe-worthy descriptions, and the unrealistic ideas, and the stilted dialogue, are often the seeds of useful ideas. They just need some time to mature and grow. The world of Trycanta is one very like this, since it grew out of some wonderfully silly games and stories I used to play when I was twelve years old.
I won't go into too much detail about those games, both because it would bore you, oh readers, and because it would embarrass me to high heaven. Think of any game you used to play with your siblings or cousins or friends, where you were the heroes and the grownups were the villains, and you'll have the basic idea of what we got up to.
The difference for us was that I invented other races to be our friends, great big cats because I'd enjoyed The Jungle Books and liked the idea of living closely with animals but didn't want to use wolves or dogs because it felt like copying, and dragons because... well... dragons. Do they require another reason for existing?
Even the "grownup villainy" theme, to my amusement, has some utility in present-day Trycanta. On the (still unnamed) continent where the country of Dulia and its neighboring lands are located, the human society is very rigidly ordered, with adulthood not arriving until 25 and children expected to obey their parents until then.
The major thematic conflict for the stories set in Dulia will be order and chaos; as with the head and heart conflict in Anosir, the conclusion I'm hoping to draw by the end is that both are important and necessary. Now if I could just come up with characters who aren't my twelve-year-old fictionalizations of me and my family...
I grew out of the games I played with my cousins, though we would still swap stories sometimes, and I toyed with a novel set in Dulia even into my early years of college (to Sarah Pf, if you're reading this, I am SO SORRY for asking you to read that!), but the next major development to Trycanta came about with the advent of the DV.
Anyone who has been around the Dangerverse for a while, since the days of the Yahoo group (which does still exist, though it hasn't been used in quite a while) and Natural Life (which could be a whole set of blog posts on its own), may remember a book called Dangerous Truths, an originalization of Living with Danger, set on Trycanta.
While I did finish a draft of DT, and I do still have it on my hard drive (I'd even started its sequel, Joyful Wings), it hasn't gone anywhere, because it has some big plot problems, a lot of the mentioned stilted dialogue and cringe-worthy descriptions, and honestly? Because people didn't seem too thrilled with Homecoming.
It is not, and has never been, my desire to tell people what they should or should not read. I will only say that after all the people who've always told me how much they enjoy the DV and how much they wish it was an original, I was hoping for a warmer reception when it became one. Gripe for the day, stated, moving right along.
Having mentioned Homecoming, I suppose I should talk a little about it. It began as my NaNovel for 2008, but languished for three or four years unfinished on my hard drive. Every so often, I'd take it out, poke at it, and put it back again. It wasn't ready. Finally, after I'd finished and published A Widow in Waiting, suddenly it was.
I finished Homecoming in a rush of writing in January of 2012, and had it published just in time to take hardback copies with me to SheVaCon in February. After a great response to Widow on a website called LibraryThing, I had hopes for Homecoming, but despite giving away fifty copies in return for reviews, I received... two.
So, that's where things stand at the moment with Trycanta. It's the oldest universe, in Doylist terms, in which I still write today, but I'm beginning to wonder if it's also the least interesting. Is it possible I shouldn't go ahead with my plans for the other two continents? Should my planned quartet in Anosir be a trilogy, or even a duology?
And as for the reviewer on LibraryThing who claimed Homecoming was twice as long as it should have been, had too many characters, and was written in far too introspective a style--was she correct? Was it, despite my blog title, a waste of my time and talent? Only you, dear readers, can tell me that. I await your verdict.