Published on 08/16/2021, 1210 words, 5 minutes to read
Hey, I don't normally do this kind of thing because it impacts my productivity for me to do it, but I'd like to detail out my plans for the novel I've been working on off and on for almost a year.
I've wanted to write a novel for a very long time, if only to do it and have done it and point to it on a shelf as something that I created. I have been stuck in story hell for a while, but then inspiration struck about the time that I realized I was nonbinary. Being nonbinary can be an odd thing for people that aren't used to thinking about gender that way, and I wanted to play with that idea as something the main character would live through.
In essence, Spellblade is a story about the main character Alicia coming out as nonbinary in a world that is very polarized by gender, in this case with the schools of spellcraft and bladecraft. Alicia is a spellblade, or a person that stands directly in the middle of the two diametrically opposed halves (they're more of a bladecrafter than a spellcrafter, but either way very much in the middle).
Correction(2021-08-16 16:54): A previous version of this article said that Alicia was the Spellblade, not a spellblade. Spellblades are actually not uncommon in the world of the book, most are really just never aware of it being a thing or are very quiet about it due to social taboo. Many people in the book may either be a spellblade or know one without being aware of it (many spellcrafters certainly are, but could chalk it up to luck or cross-functional training without thinking too much about it). My aim is to have a mostly cerebral story about gender (without overtly mentioning gender in the book text), not tell an epic tale like Avatar: The Last Airbender. I messed up.
This book is entirely a riff on gender and is a stepping stone for me to both get better at writing and to try to convey very complicated feelings and moods about being nonbinary in a very binary world. I forget who said this, but someone that was once close to me said that simple phrases can only explain simple ideas, but more complicated things require a whole novel. This is a novel in which I try to explain the feelings and moods of being nonbinary.
That being said, this book is my first novel and as such I do not expect it to be perfect, far from it in fact. I'm pretty horrible at longer form writing like this. I've been learning a lot as I go along though, and I'm certain that if I write another novel like this in the future that it will both take a lot less time to make and likely be a lot better to boot.
As a teaser, here's something from my local drafting folder, the first scene of the book. Enjoy!
Alicia scanned across the clearing. Her cat eyes darted across the field, her ears focused forward and ready for victory. The battlefield was a wide open grassy field without any good spots to take cover. Her team was losing. Badly. Her team's flag was solidly in the hands of the enemy and every attempt to wrestle it free had failed. Alicia looked over the field and got a very terrible idea. She turned towards her friend Tistus and whispered "We're going to try a pincer attack, when you get the flag, run like your life depends on it" into his ear. Tistus nodded back and stretched his legs a little. Alicia told the other group the plan via hand signals. Alicia sent the "go" signal and they all took off sprinting.
The two groups managed to pinch the blue team together, their backs against eachother and tails interlocking for stability. Zekas, the blue team leader with the red team's flag loomed over red team and readied his wooden sword. His plan almost worked, if only he wasn't struck in the back on his right side by Alicia's matching wooden sword. Zekas dropped his sword and growled at Alicia, baring his shark teeth to her. Tistus managed to squeeze between the other blue team members and yanked the flag free. He held it for dear life in his claws and gave Alicia a signal with his tail.
Alicia took a hit to the side from one of the guards she was struggling against and a small trickle of blood started to run down her left leg. Zekas noticed that his flag was missing and saw Alicia's cut, sending him into a rage. "You witch, I'll kill you!". Zekas knocked Alicia to the ground with an uppercut and Tistus sprinted off for home base while blue team surrounded Alicia. Zekas tried to grab what he thought was the flag and got Alicia's blood on his hand. Zekas growled again and looked around, seeing Tistus fleeing like his life depended on it.
Blue team took off and tried to catch up with Tistus, but the distraction was long enough that his victory was all but guaranteed. The rest of red team didn't bother to chase down blue team, they knew Tistus was the fastest sprinter at the bladecraft school.
The horn sound resonated throughout the area. Tistus had made it to the base and the exercise was over.
Red team had won.
Puri, one of Alicia's teammates, helped Alicia up and gave her a bandage. Alicia dressed her wound and felt a surge of lightning race up her hand. The exact kind of surge she didn't want to have around other people.
No no no no no no. Focus, calm, let it drain to the lightning rod in my heart. Alicia ran through the exercises her father told her to do and the feeling settled. The surge had stopped, but so had the bleeding. Alicia and the rest of her team started walking back to camp, catching up with Zekas' slow gait.
Zekas growled at Alicia in frustration, "Nice trick with that fake flag. You got me."
"Trick? Oh, the guard to my left cut my leg with his sword. I think you got got."
Zekas facepalmed and looked at Alicia. No real emotion, he just looked at her. Alicia's roughly six foot snep frame. There was a trickle of blood down her left side, but other than that her white fur and gray spots were well-kept, with her chocolate brown hair tied into a battle bun. "Lemme see that wound."
"I'm gonna let the apothecary take a look at it, it's still hurting but I can walk on it."
Alicia and Zekas started walking back to camp with the remnants of their teams.
Zekas laughed, "At least you didn't let that witch beat you." and he lead the way towards the teacher's garrison.
Alicia nervously laughed back and followed suit.
Facts and circumstances may have changed since publication. Please contact me before jumping to conclusions if something seems wrong or unclear.
Tags: enby, nonbinary