Restarted work on Crystal Clear.
The first story of the series – the only story to end up published anywhere – was written years ago. There was a second one that never got published, even though almost finished, because I got stuck in the "should" of the process. I thought to myself that one thing or another ought to be a particular way – a way I didn't feel comfortable going because I understood it wasn't where the story was supposed to go but pushed onwards with because "that's the way stories are written".
The fact that it went nowhere in the end goes to show just how much that means to me.
Crystal Clear was never meant to be a serious project, in as much as it wasn't supposed to be deep and intricate in the way I try to do with other projects. This one, in a rare circumstance, was meant to be for fun: my fun, in particular. (That the rare few who'd seen the original story enjoyed it may be a sign that I'm not alone for the fun of it.)
"Fun" in an existential sense: the genuine joy of creation and perception, in a way that appeals to something deeper than the fleeting, superficial wonder that the Internet is so full of these days. You're supposed to enjoy all the work you do, even the tough parts, otherwise you're not enjoying it truly, but this was meant to be a more relaxed experience. I find it difficult to elucidate on paper; that may be because I find it difficult to elucidate what "serious" means to me.
Crystal Clear is meant to take the world of its origin – the video game Dota 2 – and use it as the basis for a very different backdrop. It's not high fantasy the way Dota 2 is: it's not flagrantly, flamboyantly about magic and dragons and demons and the underworld. There is no epic adventure, nor there is a battle between two sides of mighty warriors and mages.
Crystal Clear is about a teenage girl who happens to be a mage, in a world that roughly resembles the 1980s in the US. It is an expression of my long-standing fantasy: what would the world be like where supernatural powers are not, to any extent, the center of the universe? where magic is a regular, if uncommon, occurrence, and mages walk the streets just like regular people because they are regular people?
The "pre-production" status means I've established the intent to write and am ideating over what it should be. The original series was conceived to be in a particular structure, aimed to both pace the main plotline and give other characters their time in the spotlight. It was a sequence of stort stories – 5 to 10 pages long – 12 stories for the main plot, and 3 more for each of the spotlit characters.
Given that this is a new iteration of the idea, I'd like to give the structure one more run before putting them to work in a live, published story: perhaps there's a better way to handle the material, or there's better material to handle to begin with. I think I have the gist of it down; what matters now is coming up with the ways to tell it well.