Antaran's Journal
 
I love writing and reading diaries. My mother used to write diaries when I was a child (I think she still does), and I remember once telling her that I'd like to write a diary as well, and asking her what I should write. She said I should think back, pick events that I find memorable and write them down. From then on (I was around ten years old), I wrote an entry every now and then, and I have gathered five handwritten books up until year eighteen. I continued writing digital entries after that, but the pace slowed down. I have found my significant other, and writing diary entries used to be a way to cope with depressing thoughts. I'm a much happier person now, and I can talk to my girlfriend about all things in the world, so my entries nowadays are mainly project based. I say mainly because... well, that's for another day.

Back in 2005, I was dangling between a job and the start of alternative civilian service, and trying to find my next project; the Next Big Thing after Halfquake Amen (which ... was difficult). I remember sitting in a dark room, having the urge to just start something, so I ... just started.


Antaran's Journal became an experiment, to see if I could pull off writing something every day, similar to an update schedule of webcomics. I find webcomics interesting in that regard, since the content is available to readers instantly, and it's not (or should not be) possible to go back and fix story related elements. So, you either build up your idea in advance, or you just go with the flow. Me, I chose to create something out of nothing, basing my entries on things that inspired me each and every day.


One thing that I remember very clearly was when Antaran tried to prepare soup and a spider came down from the ceiling, right into the pot. I'll never forget it because it actually happened. I was about to prepare some vegetable soup before writing that chapter, and as soon as I had put on the kettle, a spider was spinning its way down from the ceiling, and for some unthinkable reason, right into the boiling water. It died immediately. Why a spider would do that is totally beyond me, but so are the majority of a spider's actions. I remember putting the pot away and setting up a new one...


Ever since finishing the book, I had ideas for a sequel, either from Antaran's perspective (another diary), or from his wife's perspective. Carana was always a mysterious figure to work with, and I keep thinking about her.


It also builds up a small world, with a bunch of villages and cities, some of which only mentioned by name, so there's a lot to explore. Antaran lives in simple medieval, fictitious times, which is why it's a lot of fun to write (and research).


Speaking of the ending, it used to be much darker. The king's reasons for his actions weren't always the ones described in the book. Originally, he was "just" insane and had a knack for torturing people. And raping and/or disfiguring them. In front of others. I'm super glad I found a different reason for his actions because that's... rather dark and kind of random. (Which is why I greatly dislike Game of Thrones.)


I've got to thank Auri for showing me a different course to take. When I told her what I had in store for the king and my main characters, she was more or less turned off completely by the whole story. I learned a thing or two by writing a somewhat reasonable villain in Antaran's Journal. It's not always fun to be a bad guy just because you can, I suppose that's what one would call bad writing.


ANYWAY! I still plan on returning to Antaran's universe. Maybe sometime in the future, when Walter's Deal has been done for a while and I get the itch to write some more. Could be just a few short stories, those are fun to do, too.