It has been over a year since I started to write creatively. Over 700,000 words later, I have tossed back and forth the idea to share some of that writing with the world at large. As some people well know, I am quite the introvert, and the very concept of self-confidence is… quite foreign at times, especially in regards to something that is wholly my own. Well, perhaps it is time that I put that internal conflict to rest. Today, I share some of my ideas.
It may come as a surprise to some that my writing is not a singular whole. There are over a hundred documents that I have accumulated, many of them telling different stories or outlining various ideas that may be applicable to new stories. In fact, a single document, simply labelled Thoughts, is currently over a hundred pages (or 59,000 words) in length and almost entirely discusses my thought process on various stories, their concepts, and how I can improve in later stories.
Now, as I sit here writing this script for a video whose subject I’m still not entirely certain of, I cannot help but wonder what I will attempt to espouse. Now that it’s time for me to get the introduction out of the way in order to start on the thing I’ll be rambling about for the next five to ten minutes, I can only think about one thing: The Aria Experiment.
The Aria Experiment, the working title for a story created all the way back in July of 2020, was my first attempt at a story that fell under the urban fantasy genre with an additional mix of some science-fiction and dystopian elements. Like most new ideas I come up with, the story ended up being twenty to thirty pages in length and spawned several strange iterations that branched off in different and often very dumb directions.
What made The Aria Experiment unique was not that it concerned a different genre. That was only part of why I remember this story as fondly as I do. Rather, what made The Aria Experiment so unique was that it was one of the first stories to really take worldbuilding seriously.
In the city of Aria, there exist two species: the humans and the Nyx. The humans are, well, human. The Nyx, on the other hand…
The Nyx are humans injected with the drug officially named Erebus. This injection allows them to manifest weapons or tools called Ichor, which are generally split into two categories. Parasite-type Ichors act as a part of the Nyx’s body, whether it be an arm, an eye, or even a tail. Weapon-type Ichors are separate from the Nyx’s body and consist of objects such as knives, swords, tools, and even, on the rare occasion, guns.
The Nyx are not a direct upgrade to the average human, however. Since Erebus is required to maintain the Ichor, it integrates deeply with the Nyx’s multiple organ systems, to the point that the absence of Erebus would lead to an almost inevitable death.
With both the power of the Nyx and their requirement for a low-supply drug, the government of Aria took over the supply chain almost as soon as the Nyx were realized. Since Nyx are almost never born naturally, the government was able to manipulate the amount of Nyx that exist.
The naturally-born Nyx, on the other hand, are an entirely different set of circumstances. As opposed to the artificial Nyx, natural Nyx create their own Erebus, thus meaning that, not only can they survive without the government’s aid, they can also allow several others to subsist off of themselves. The government tries to keep tabs on the rare natural Nyx, but their numbers are so small and dispersed that continued observation is nigh impossible for those who don’t seek the government’s protection.
Of course, most of this is just an overall description that I came up with over the course of an hour. The overview gives just enough information that the reader has a decent idea of what the focus will be: the Nyx. It also lets the reader acknowledge some potential intricacies that will likely pop up throughout the course of the story – racial inequality and a totalitarian government being at the forefront of those inferences. The overview doesn’t outright lay out its hand, though. In the end, I, the writer, still have enough wriggle room that I can expand outside of the initially tight confines of the overview. What caused the birth of the Nyx species? Are other cities (if there are any) aware of the Nyx? What’s on the outside of Aria, anyways?
These questions, among many others, are what I ask myself as I begin to write. I then ask myself which of these questions I find the most interesting, and pursue the answer to that question as I develop the story.
In the present day, my favorite question is this:
“When is a human a monster, and when is a monster human?”
While I have mostly moved away from The Aria Experiment’s urban fantasy callings, its worldbuilding experience is one that I refer back to constantly so that I can build upon those previous failings while ensuring that the foundational successes are upheld and even improved.
Writing is a solitary and often lonely affair. While I have extensively progressed on my lonesome, critiques from the outside world are inevitable. What do you think of the ideas I posed here?