A Brief History of Myself as a Writer

on Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I decided that for those who are new to the blog, it might be beneficial to know more about me as a writer, including my past projects, current projects, and future projects. Keep in mind this is meant simply as a basic introduction as of the day of posting, and may not be updated as time progresses.

My name is Nathan Major. I am currently twenty-four years old, and finishing my last semester at Brigham Young University in Utah. I'm married to a wonderful woman named Rebecca. I was born and raised in central California, in the town of Paso Robles. It was there I first began writing, both in school and under the guidance of my mother. I remember, for fun, she'd assign both me and my brother "30 Minute Writes," where she'd give us a title only, and then we'd have 30 minutes to expound on that writing prompt in the form of a short story. It didn't take long for me to have reoccurring characters and themes, regardless of how odd the titles were. After finishing and some editing, the best of these short children's stories we compiled into a short book, which we bound. I still have it on my shelf, and often consider it my first "complete" novel.

My passion for writing continued, though I never really embraced it until 2006. It was then that I first read the novel Eragon by Christopher Paolini. After reading it, I thought to myself, "Hey, I have a lot of ideas for a novel, and I know how to write! I bet I could write something as good as this and get published!" Perhaps not the best way to get started, it certainly worked.

For the next three years, I worked on my first novel, Lacrymosa, based on ideas and concepts my friend and I (a writing buddy from years ago) had thought up. It was slow going; I even took almost an entire year off (2008) and didn't write anything in it. Luckily, my work ethic has improved since then. I finished it in April of 2009. At around 150,000 words, it was my first full-length novel.

Lacrymosa was intended to be the first in a trilogy, revolving around a war between a winged, magical race called the Ala, and a mechanical, steampunk race called the Orion. The Orion had long been Ala slaves, but this changes when a girl named Lilly, an Orion raised by the Ala, essentially defects and joins the Orion's resistance. While certainly a first novel and riddled with the issues that entail that (one of the members of my writing group even described a particular scene as "High School Musical: Ala"), it was still a first, finished work, which was a huge leap for me. I could finish a novel, and so I would continue to do so.

Determined write more, I began my second novel, Harbinger, on April 1, 2009. It was then I discovered that a good technique to help me write was forcing a daily word-quota. For this experiment, I resolved to write a minimum of 500 words on weekdays, 1,000 on weekends, all while working a full-time job. I finished on June 30, meaning I wrote a full length novel in under three months (by one day!). It ran at around 100,000 words total.

Harbinger was my first attempt at complete discovery writing, as well as a generous mash-up of genre blending. Described as "Vampire Wild West Cowboy Angels," it takes the standard Western setting and fuses it with copious amounts of Fantasy elements. While certainly not the best book ever written, it proved I could meet a word-count, and finish a second novel. It also helped me realizes my style of writing: discovery writing, with a touch of planning when necessary.

Where Gods and Mortals Dance is my most recent work, after taking July - December of 2009 off. Starting as the school semester did in January, it was my attempt to write something polished enough to be publishable. It also was an experiment to take me away from two key things I'd had issues escaping in my previous books: guns and magic. Focusing less on fighting and more on religious and political intrigue, as well as character development, WGMD also wanted to reaffirm the belief that I could write a novel quickly, and with a deadline. After the semester in the beginning of April, I committed to writing a minimum of 5,000 words a day until it was completed, no matter what. A month later, on May 4, Where Gods and Mortals Dance was completed. Clocking it at a whopping 188,000 words, written in just over 100 days, it is my longest work yet, and easily my best.

The last of the royal family, Ailene’s world is one of mystery and danger. Eight wandering gods roam the city-kingdoms of Octavia, a visit from the gods bestowing blessings or curses based on their purpose. Six years ago, the Condemning god came to Ailene’s city of Dire, casting the provence into a mess of assassinations, poverty, and heresy. Her family dead and kingdom overthrown by the man she once loved, Ailene seeks help from those who she’d least expect: a brilliant blind crew-leader and former street urchin named Dratan, and the Useless god, the only god without a purpose. As Ailene and her new allies seek to reclaim the throne, they begin to uncover a centuries-old plot that will shake Ailene’s faith, her loyalties, and the very foundation upon which Octavia is founded.

Currently, I am writing another experiment. Tentatively titled Paradise Seekers, it is a YA novel set in the first-person perspective, both of which I've never done before. Meant to be both a distopia and a philosophical novel, the book focuses on the boy Sam, who awakens to find himself without any memories of his past, save the same dream he has every night. He is welcomed into this new world by a group of similarly-aged teenagers, who call themselves Paradise Seekers. Living in a veritable utopia in the walled town of Haven, Sam's life seems to be perfect. He even becomes close friends with a new Paradise Seeker, Julia. However, as the dream becomes darker and truths about where they actually are come to light, Sam realizes his choices may influence more than he knows.

Following Paradise Seekers, I am currently planning my fourth and fifth adult fantasy novels, part of a series called Effulgent Corruption. I won't give too much away now, besides they are a two-book set, focusing on a world where the gods have died and left quite a mess in their wake.

That is about all there is to know about me. I will probably post more about my style of writing, as well as particular points of writing that stick out to me during the weekly Ramblings on Writing.


Charlie said...

Nice. You're really on top of things.

I still need to read WGMD. Whereas I could have read it at my BYU job, here I can't . . . I need to print it out.

Paradise Seekers sounds a lot like The Maze Runner. Not that they'll be the same when you finish the book, but the premise is similar.

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