How You as an Author Came to this Writing (Royal) Road
So basically what it says on the tin. How did you start on your writing journey and how have you grown from there to here as a writer? Did an angel come to you in a dream and say UR DESTINY IS TO WRITE? Did someone offer you some inspiring words? Or were you inspired by a particular writer? Or maybe
//throws mic out to empty crowd.
((Sorry for any awkward formatting. I’m on mobile lol))
I think I started writing for escapism sometime around the age of 8. Not that I was in a bad environment. It was just that I was growing fast to be your typical 2edgy4you teen. The road had been laid bare for me the moment I decided that friends were over rated and I would be totally unique and cool by not having any.
But that was on and off writing. Nothing substantial or book like. There was no big attempts until-And I hate to say this- I developed a crush when I was 11 or 12. Around that time, I was into anime as well. Like REALLY into anime. Writing this is making me really reflect on how far I've come.
So I used to write about 2 hours a day on my laptop. Sometimes in school as well. I'd draw and doodle my characters, all of which heavily influenced by whatever anime I was watching at the time. At the start, no writing attempt ever got more than 4000 words before I got bored. I still have a folder of all these writing attempts and some of them, surprisingly, aren't that bad. I guess it's hard to find massive flaws in little 4000 word novelets. I read a lot as a kid so I knew how a book should sound. Or I had pre-conceived notions that were fairly accurate anyway.
I started getting bored at somepoint of writing romance stories which were basically inserts of me and whatever people I idolized and went straight to writing fanfic when I got the totally original idea of writing different endings to animes I was totally dissatisfied with. Every attempt grew larger. More frequently my attempts reached 10000, 15000, 20000. It was slow. There was no writing circle to keep me out of bad habits or put me in good ones. I'm a pantser through and true. I rarely, if ever, plan.
I signed up to my first NaNoWriMo and wrote my first 50k in a month. I published my first fanfic on that site we all used to love and that was 127k of pure garbage. But by the time I was 18, I'd sort of grown tired of writing. I sort of new the big goal was to become a published author but there was a canyon between my hobby level skill and the skill of someone whose dedicated their life to the craft. To jump and fall into the abyss below would be devastating in a time where my self-esteem was very low. By the time I was 20, I barely touched the pen. I wasn't drawing little doodles of my characters. I wasn't hitting the keyboard with my face every evening anymore. I was working a low payed job with no career in mind, having never gone to higher education I was going to be consigned to a very meager existence at this rate.
One evening I sat down, I hadn't touched a book to read in a month. Decided, "fuck it. Let's read some cringe." I opened up a certain folder filled with all my writing attempts.-Some sadly lost because they were stored on a USB that is currently AWOL- And I read through each attempt. I felt a little guilty towards past me for being so idle and without aspiration. I thought if I was going to sit around and do nothing except wait for time to pass me by, then I might as well write to help time pass a little quicker. Even if writing isn't something I really enjoy anymore. So I'm here.
tl;dr guy started edgy self insert fanfics when he was 8, got bored of writing as a whole, and the full folder of his failed attempts haunts him to this day so he's trying to finish them.
I wouldn't be surprised though if I was not the only one who started out this way.
The writing began when I started playing Dungeons and Dragons (3.5). Due to my tendencies I became DM and wrote dozens of scenarios, built worlds and stories. Most of which I've thrown away since then without ever using them. I did always continue to think about books I read. Spin-offs, side stories, what if it had gone differently.
My last job had me doing nothing but telling stories and some administrative work. I started reading online with RR actually being my most recent stop. Novelupdates and webnovel have seen my traffic too. It was the trigger for me to say to myself 'I can do this too'. That was when I began to seriously set up my own novel length (or longer) concepts. I was walking around with those for a long, long time and none of them would probably have seen the light of day, if it wasn't for Covid-19.
I'm out of a job, sitting at home. Depressed. I gained weight. Someone talked me into going to a dietician. During one of my talks there, combined with some other unrelated conversations including some forum posts, I realized I was just procrastinating. I was afraid to start because I wasn't sure I could handle the feedback if it wasn't good.
So I just started writing. Still going chapter by chapter, with one scheduled to publish the moment the one before goes up. I'm trying to make a bit of a buffer, but I don't want to burn myself out. Of course, I'm also looking for work. If people want daily updates, we can talk about that when they pay my rent!
I'm not writing the concept I really want to write at the moment, rather something just for fun. Once I can say I know what I'm doing, I'll start the other novel
I dare say I have a way with words. I enjoy reading books where the authors pick up uncommon words or twist language around on itself and enjoy doing something similar. At the same time I have a flair for making even crossing the road into a gripping and entertaining story (I live in Amsterdam and worked in a hotel. Tourists + Bicycles = entertainment)
I went off to college and changed my degree somewhere around 230 times. Business, then Business Law, then English with an emphasis on fiction. Then, for some reason, I earned a college degree in piano performance (okay, so I only changed my major three times). In a way, I actually started my writing with notation, rather than words.
I worked at being a full time musician for almost a decade, but as we adults are fond of saying: "the economy", and all that. So I went white-collar. It was then that writing with words became a thing for me. To be fair, I started a couple of stories while still trying to swing things with music, but I shelved them all when adulting became difficult for a few years in there.
When the white collar job became stressful, writing was shelved again in favor of movies, tv, and videogames after work. I moved up to a new position with a different kind of stress (one that doesn't leave me emotionally exhausted at the end of the day), and am back to writing. It's good fun!
A bunch of years later, I decided to write a story I wanted to read and I started posting here.
I was really bored and really into the Haruhi Suzumiya series so I took a spin with fanfiction there. Soon enough I went back to developing original characters and more random plots, not caring about growing up, and not wanting to either. Although high school began with hating my writing and writer's block here and there it kept going on. I tried short stories which came up short and planned to continue writing and never really stopped since despite all of my shortcomings and such. Although most of my high school writing isn't good, I still ended up recycling a number of ideas from that time. From 2009 through 2013 I wrote 9 full-length (70K+ words) novels.
I thought I made a breakthrough in 2014 with my 10th novel, which expanding way beyond my expectations in length and quality, but in the following years things quickly went downhill, running into writer's blocks in 2016 and 2017 as I transitioned to adult life with a job. I had been pretty disappointed with a big project (300K+ words) and my two smaller stories I worked on, and reconsidered whether I really fit as a writer. As the weeks passed with me not writing at all I realized that writing was more than just a hobby -- I needed it and poor writing was better than nothing. In the end I feel like I did improve as a writer even if it's not at the level I want yet.
2018 was when I felt motivation again and started sending my works out (2 books so far) to publishers, which hasn't worked out too well so far (many don't even respond). But it does feel pretty empty when a week goes by and I get zero writing done. I hadn't really bothered thinking about writing groups or uploading online till this year though.
Most recently my inspiration has been Tad Williams' Osten Ard series (set to conclude next year), although I have yet to really get into the big medieval world style, I enjoy his work. I also heard that Re: Zero was originally a web novel, although I never read it, only watched the anime. I never really expected to be successful either through traditional publishing or online, but hope that at least some of my stuff gets published and at least some people enjoy my work.
If you want to tl;dr, JustAnotherPleb's summary is also my story, pretty much. :P
I know that I read multiple web novels/light novels that were related to various shows, and those that didn't have any show to begin with, which most do or will have in this or upcoming year. Looking back into it, I somewhat feel proud and nostalgic.
Back to the topic though. I traveled through NovelUpdates, then to Webnovel, then to Wattpad and finally, to Royal Road
Surprisingly (or not), the first novel that I read was Azarinth Healer. At that time I thought it was so complex, yet so simple, giving subtle things and promise of content and twist we didn't expect at all (Or at least I didn't at the time). It felt fascinating to me, and Azarinth Healer, along with Re: Zero Webnovel (amazing masterpiece btw, absolutely recommend it you watched the anime, no matter if the 2nd season comes in like 3-4 days) it inspired me to write my own novels. My journey was somewhat vast and I have tried to write many novels and even a Bleach fanfiction (not that kind though, I'm not that kind of guy) and I mostly enjoyed it. I got overwhelming amounts of support from various platforms I was a part of, and I will probably never forget that in my life. But sadly most of those novels ended because of private reasons or me losing interest, as sad and miserable as it sounds, I learned to accept that part of me, and even now I am actively trying to change that part of myself, while also improving my writing skills along with language skills.
My story is not that adventurous and phenomenal or something, and it had many cliffs that I have sadly slipped and fallen from, but it didn't stop me from trying, it kind of motivates me now, now that I think about it, however weird it sounds.
If I ever had to give a bit of advice... Don't give up without trying, write your own ideas and poster them here, or anywhere where you think it may fit. If its bad and people give you honest criticism about it, improve on those parts criticized, and you are bound to find and dig up your own treasure chest. As for what will there be in that chest... I can't give you an answer because I still didn't find my own... But I know it is bound to be good, whatever may be inside of it.
Anyway, I hope you all have a good day or night. Depends on where you are.
TL:DR : Nothing special. If you have time, go have a look
I kind of stepped to RR as a way to keep myself accountable, as well as because I had seen an opportunity. I had just finished Will Wight's Cradle series, and I thought to myself "Wow! There aren't that many western cultivation novels out there! Maybe I should write one." Of course, I soon learned that it wasn't that there aren't that many, but rather that there aren't that many good ones. I'm not saying that my novel is one of the "good ones", but I'm trying my best haha.
I also kind of look at my fic as a way to connect with my asian heritage, but that's more of a bonus than the main reason. I'm currently participating in nanowrimo, so let's hope that I can keep this up!
I started off with things like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings. In middle school, I frequently got in trouble for reading during reading class. The teacher's couldn't really punish me for reading novels during a class about reading, but they were certainly annoyed that I wasn't paying attention and didn't know which section we were at when it came time for me to read out loud.
Most of my MCs and worldbuilding started from ideas I had back then, but they've been recycled so many times that I frequently forget what originally inspired them in the first place.
By high school, when we were reading excerpts from Beowulf, I had my own copy of the entire thing. I got into D&D around then as well. I had always loved the worlds that authors created, but it was the first time I really got into making my own. I spent a lot of money on graph paper so that I could design dungeons. I'd frequently start on world maps, only to scrap them once a better idea popped into my head.
I moved after high school and didn't have as much of a creative outlet, but by then I was heavily into manga, anime, and eventually light novels. I've always been a bit of a critic, so as much as I enjoyed them, it frustrated me when I saw a great premise ruined by bad writing or lazy storytelling. I frequently thought, "I've never written anything longer than a blog post, but even I could do better than this!" I was always confident in my writing ability. One of my blog entries was even good enough that it got reposted on two entire sites holyshitpeopleoutsidemyfamilyareactuallyreadingthis!
I knew I could write, but who would want to read it? Just me? Then why bother? The story is already in my head, so what's the point of writing it out?
Eventually, I found The Deathworlders series and the other Jenkinsverse stories on Reddit and started to wonder what other English webnovels might exist. A quick Google search lead me to Royal Road, and I was delighted to find out that English language webnovels were an actual thing. For once, I had easy access to stories that weren't affected by translation issues or cultural references so obscure that even a veteran web such as myself had trouble understanding them. They weren't always good, but they were exactly what I was looking for.
The desire to write started to accumulate again, and when last year's writathon happened, I took the plunge. IT was then or never. I started putting to the page ideas that had been bouncing around in my head for over a decade.
Would people like it? Was my writing as good as I thought? Were the authors that I had called bad actually better than me? Could I handle the inevitable criticism that I had opened myself up to?
Overall though... totally worth it. It's been both humbling and encouraging at the same time. No regrets.
I'm at a slow point at the moment. My fiction is currently on (an actual) hiatus while I try to rebuild my draft buffer, but there's no stopping now. I'm finally doing something that I've wanted to do for ages, and I love it.
Today, I write for the sheer pleasure of creating new worlds. I've been told to write about what you know, but when writing about future events and fantasy worlds . . . who's to say you're wrong? In this way I took to science fiction and fantasy far more than any other genre.
I came to Royal Road after realizing I could actually post chapters one by one from a work in progress. Before sites like this one, a book had to be finished and well edited before any sort of publication was possible. Royal Road gives me an outlet to not only get my unfinished work out to the public eye, but also as a means of inspiration and motivation to actually finish. With posting a chapter a week, the clock is ticking for me to wrap everything up before that time expires and I have no more content to release.