Hello, I’m Olivia, and I really like to write.
That probably sounds a bit cliché. There are countless amateur writers out there, and many of them are more experienced than me. I haven’t attended any journalism or fiction writing classes, and never read any specialized literature on the subject apart from the odd blog entry. The theory of the craft never interested me all that much, I just did it for myself and to share with friends regardless of professional opinions. What mattered most to me, and still does to this day, is whether people enjoyed reading my stories. If they didn’t, I changed stuff around until I did a better job at capturing them.
I started writing in my native language when I was 10 years old. Some of my childhood memories revolve around sitting at the living room table with my grandpa, rhythmically tapping the keys of the manual typewriter he’d passed on to me as a present because I liked the sound of it. When I was about 12, I’d write single pages to share with classmates, and I remember the happiness I felt when they all sat around me on the train to some school excursion with my pages in hand. Reading for long stretches of time without talking, passing the pages between them when they were done.
When I left school, online fiction wasn’t nearly as much of a reality as it is today. The thought of professional publication never occurred to me, because catching the interest of a print publisher as a “newbie” was a thing of near impossibility. I spent a decade writing tiny short stories – often 2K words or less – dedicated to games and the works of professional authors whose books I enjoyed. When I discovered the internet, I eventually made the transition from my native language to English to be able to share my work with new friends all over the world.
But honestly, I’m not very experienced with writing in English. The total of all my mini-stories shared online prior to starting with Anathema sums up to probably less than 20K words. I picked up a lot of the language thanks to reading and large amounts of roleplaying in text MUDs and forum games, but I still have to heavily rely on tools such as dict.cc, linguee, and google phrase search for my writing. Sometimes I just can’t find the right expression that is both grammatically correct and conveys the exact tone or atmosphere I have on mind. It’s frustrating, at times, but the ability to reach a much larger audience more than makes up for the effort
Earlier this year, I discovered online serials (Worm by Wildbow, to be specific), and something just… clicked. Just like me, Wildbow had never completed a single, comprehensive story before he started Worm. I was the kind of person who grimaced at the mere mention of Superhero stories, but Worm just… reformed me into a believer. Dark, gritty, clever and unpredictable plot, realistic consequences? I loved a Song of Ice and Fire for all those reasons, but Worm opened up a whole new world to me. I consider that story one of the most inspiring experiences of my lifetime.
I don’t know why I’d never discovered online fiction before. But once I did, my outlook on publishing a complete, long piece of fiction changed.
And here we are! I started writing test chapters for Anathema sometime in april, and a whole lot of awesome people (see credits) has helped me with pre-launch reviews and feedback. Thanks, guys! You rock my socks off. Arc 1’s main character, Mascot, used to be an idea for a Worm fanfic that eventually found its way into its own universe. Over the course of april and may 2014, said universe and its story solidified more and more. I’ve now reached a point where I feel confident to make it happen.
As it stands, I have a backlog of 10 chapters, and am determined to add 1-2 more per week. This isn’t just a pet project to me – after decades of failing to make this step, it is long overdue, and I feel this is one of the most important turning points of my life. I still care about sharing that creative space in my head as much as I did when I was 10. Honestly, it’s probably the only thing I’m good at. My mind drifts off to fictive worlds and characters even when I’m working or supposed to pay attention to something else.
Thank you for undertaking this journey with me, it really means a lot. I’d be super happy to see some comments and discussion once a few chapters are up. If readers express interest in more information about specific characters or background events, I’ll try and address them in future chapters.
Any questions or concerns can be voiced in comments. Or, if you prefer, email me at anathemaserial(at)hotmail.com.