Discussions, Writing

My 200+ page fantasy novel I started writing when I was 15/16

Hello everyone, welcome back to my blog! Today I’m going to be discussing the 200+ page fantasy novel I started writing when I was fifteen/sixteen years old – and didn’t end up finishing. Going through my draft and reading all the planning, brainstorming and world-building I did has been such a crazy and emotional experience and has filled me with so much nostalgia… I almost want to/am very tempted to go back, re-write it, and finish it!!

Disclaimer: I’m going to be honest, my sense of time is pretty terrible. My memory even worst. I can’t seem to figure out what time period this was. I remember when I did the online advanced creating writing course but I can’t remember how old I was or which exact year I was in (my last edited on Google drive was 2018, which is it what then made me assume 2018)… so I was either 15 or 16, so if it seems like I’m jumping around from 2017 or 2018 or 15 or 16, then that’s why!

Soooo I don’t want to give too much detail (because I might end up rewriting it one day, who knows!) but the main story is about 4 princesses that think they’re sisters but were actually kidnapped from different bloodlines – and the whole plan is really expanding on this whole one idea and heavily drawing upon the fantasy element.

The world-building was definitely the part that was the most fun… I even devised names for each of the months because I had started off with diary entries so I couldn’t use “January, February” etc! A friend of mine and I had many discussions talking about the traits of each of the creatures/species that would be in this fantasy world and all the different kingdoms/countries. It’s almost got a bit of a LOTR vibe, but is also very different.

I remember I would spend ages scrolling through archaic names – and it was so fun to be able to basically create this world and change it to my own whims and desires – this is really what makes writing so unbelievably special!

I started writing this in summer of 2018 so I would set my alarm clock for 8am, get up and just write, write, write. I did a lot of experimenting with the way in which I wrote this – first I started off with diary entries, but then I went back to the beginning and wrote two preludes/prologues (I’m not sure what the difference is between them) in third person, and the first was 17 years before the diary entries (which takes up Part 1 of the novel) and the second was 17 years after, which happened at the same time as the diary entries.

I also had lots of different narratives. The diary entries were solely portraying the narrative of the youngest princess, and then in Part 2 I started to write in third person about the oldest princess. I’m not sure if switching between first and third person is something “correct” to do because I can’t quite recall having read a book that has done that… I know prologues can be in third person but I’m not sure about the body of the story… let me know what you guys think! I also started to write third person narratives about other characters as well that would later become more important in the novel.

In the academic year 2017-2018 (omg so long ago) I participated in this advanced creative writing class online, and there we would engage in a lot of discussion on writing (obviously), share each other’s writing and also different methods of brainstorming such as writing a novel, etc. One of the things that we discussed was writing your story in chronological order, and this was another thing that I experimented with in my fantasy novel… to the point where I’m now looking back on it (2-3 years ago) am extremely confused upon reading certain areas lol.

One thing in particular that really confused me when I was reading back on all my plotting and writing documents (which were several, all on one Google Drive folder) was how I seemed to have just randomly started writing about this character that is just never mentioned in my actual draft of the story, and then I started writing about how this character meets another character (which I had yet to even start developing, although they were mentioned in the prologue) like a significant time period ahead from what I had managed to cover in the draft of my story… it took me a while to figure out what was going on lol.

Also, whilst I was planning events that were going to take place, I would sometimes just start writing those scenes straight away because I got so excited! Reading back on those scenes especially has been so much fun because the memories of me writing them have just been flooding back and it has been simultaneously very nostalgic, confusing (because I can’t remember what exactly what was supposed to be happening and this was actually a part of the plot I hadn’t fully fleshed out yet lol) but also a riveting read.

Anyways – I think it’s clear that this fantasy novel was definitely all over the place, but I think it is very necessary to experiment with writing and go a bit crazy if you want… just because you can! It was the experimenting aspect of this novel that I remember really made it so enjoyable for me because it was new and fun. So, if you’re a writer – I would recommend trying something new – mix up your narratives, don’t write chronologically, abandon chapters!

I hope you guys enjoyed this post! Let me know your thoughts! What do you think about the sounds of this novel? Should I start rewrite it and write it alongside my Islamic-fiction novel, using it almost as a place to warm up my writing skills and brainstorming and basically just something that I really, really enjoy… or should I leave it? What are your thoughts of experimenting with writing? What has your experience with writing been, what was your earliest writing project?

Speak to you all soon!!! 🙂

7 thoughts on “My 200+ page fantasy novel I started writing when I was 15/16”

  1. It sounds kind of cool, and I think you should go for it and rewrite it if you feel like doing so!! Rereading my own old stories is so so nostalgic and I actually find them very interesting and want to know what happens next. But I never finish them, so the story just stops at awkward points, much to my dismay lol. I’ve had so many ideas that I’ve started and abandoned, and it’s really sad.

    Currently, I’m supposed to be working on two stories. One follows the wife of the first Abbasid caliph before the Abbasids took over and the role she played in the revolution. The other was one I wanted to write with some friends, but after the initial excitement of creating a new world, we’ve kind of slowed down with it lol. The problem right now is that I like the idea of both, and I want to read them when they’re finished, but I have no motivation to really write. Or I don’t know what to write. I’m just stuck and don’t know what should happen next. It’s frustrating, and I hope I’ll eventually come back to it so they don’t sit and gather dust like all my old stories.

    Maybe I should try doing something new like you said. The historical fiction one with the Abbasid story, I’ve been writing it in chapters from the first person, but I’ve actually thought about including a second POV of someone from the Umayyad side. Maybe I should try doing that to get my creativity back.

    I’m curious, if you’d like to share, what’s your Islamic fiction novel going to be about? And I also can’t think of a book that was switching between 1st and 3rd person, but hey, you could be the first!

    Anywaysss, sorry for the long comment! I really enjoyed reading this ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you so much for such a lovely comment, I loved reading it! ❤ I've thought about it and I think I'll leave it for now – but it was definitely not a waste of time or anything because it really helped me to improve my writing skills and everything! Honestly same, I'm always so intrigued when reading my own stories and it's almost as if I'm given a very personal insight/being able to step into the shoes of my younger self again, for a second. That's exactly the same for me lool that's why this story was such a big achievement for me because even though I didn't get close to finish it, I still accomplished more than I previously have in stories.

    Wow your historical-fiction on the Abbasid caliph sounds sooo interesting! What sources are you using for that? There isn't much on the Abbasids is there…? That's how I've felt with so many stories… just loving the idea but not knowing where to go with it… I think we have to be adventurous and push ourselves beyond the comfort zone, to just thrust ourselves out there and try our best to start writing and continue writing (easier said than done).

    Yeah that sounds like I good idea! Also when you're experimenting, it makes it more fun and interesting for you to write as well.

    This is really vague but it's kind of where I'm at right now (I'm trying my best loolll): basically a teenager growing up with her Muslim identity and in Western society which has ideals very different to her ones as a Muslim. I'm also exploring different ideas and stuff within that. I'm not sure exactly where I'm going but I've started writing and brainstorming… I'm just hoping this doesn't fizzle out haha

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  3. Salaams everyone! I love the ideas for both your stories, the Abyssid Caliphate one sounds like a MUST READ AAAH I love historical novels, and a historical Muslim novel? Gimmmeee. Best of luck with that, I would love to read it when you’re done. Even better that the focus character is an amazing woman! yesss! Also, I love the idea of a Muslim teen growing up in the west, that kind of story is very applicable to many of us and I feel you would do a great job capturing our perspective (where ya know, the Muslim doesn’t dump her ideal to fit in or that kinda stuff). It sounds like contemporary if I’m correct, and I love me some good contemporary (like Love from A to Z was really cute I found, I think the Muslim leads in that one were pretty decent in most respects). I’m currently working slowly at the second draft of my story after I got 3/4th through the first draft before realizing I had no idea where I was going with it loll. It’s a Muslim magical realism story, and while before I wanted it to have a heavy mystery element, now the mystery is lighter and the plot revolves more around questing/adventure. Let’s all keep doing our best with our stories!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Walaikumasalam, I totally agree the Abbyssid Caliphate historical novel sounds AMAZING and the idea of a book like that literally just makes me so excited.

    I’ll be honest, I don’t have much experience reading contemporary (I did love She Wore Red Trainers by Na’ima B. Robert, I’ve added Love from A to Z to my TBR since you’ve suggested it and I might have a go at reading it next weekend!). However, writing about a Muslim teen growing up in the West – and this whole concept – is just something that’s very close to home for me, so I really want to write about it. It’s also very relatable and relevant to me, I just need to make sure it’s got a good plot, well-developed characters and everything 🙂 But I think the plot is most important because I think it’s kind of something I’m struggling the most with.

    A Muslim magical realism story sounds sooo original and gripping! I love anything fantasy, and mashing together two of my favourite genres (fantasy and Islamic-fiction) in one sounds like a dream come true. Honestly I have respect that you’ve kept going at it, though, knowing myself I probably would’ve been very tempted to leave it unfinished haha. It sounds really good, best of luck!!!

    Yes that’s the key, we all just need to keep going 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. So it’s not going to be 100% based on actual events, more like inspired by it. Yeah, there’s not that many sources that go into depth about their lives at the time and the detailed intricacies of the revolt, but Wikipedia has been very helpful for the general idea lol.

    There’s also pretty much nothing about his wife. She’s called Umm Salamah, but they don’t even have her actual name (let alone description or anything) so I’ve named her Safiyyah. And since there’s nothing on her, I get a lot of liberty with how I create her. It’s been pretty fun so far.

    I hope it doesn’t fizzle out either!! It would be really nice to see a different sort of Muslim narrative out there. I’ve thought about trying to do something like that, but contemporaries are not really my thing lol

    Liked by 2 people

  6. MASHALLAH!

    Gotta say, I’m loving all the replies to this blog post. You have no idea how utterly elated I am to hear so many Muslimahs wanting to write novels centred around Muslim characters and Muslim history. We desperately need Muslim fiction to move beyond the romance genre and actually have Muslim characters that are proud of their identity and not constantly compromising their values to fit in. I’m so very proud of all of you! Keep writing, don’t give up, and please know that there are many of us out there who would love to read your amazing stories.

    May Allah ‘aza wajal take you from strength to strength.

    Liked by 2 people

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