The Novel: Update #6 – First Two Chapters and an Unlikely Inspiration

Happy new year, beauties!


I had a quiet, lovely evening with family, skipped pubs and parties, drank moderately, and went to sleep shortly after midnight. All so I could get up early and enjoy the new year’s gift I promised myself a month ago: a whole morning of work on my novel.

It was pretty blissful. Sat on my parents front porch in scenic Armidale with good coffee, Bach blasting (Bach is important), and got the first two chapters of the novel finished. Considering the scope of the book, that’s barely scraping the surface of the story, but it still feels pretty damn good.

Same spot, but this was my Christmas morning sci-fi/coffee orgy

Something else novel-related happened on New Year’s Eve that was pretty hilarious. I was introducing my little daughter to Disney’s Mulan (1998), which I haven’t seen since I was a kid, and realised that one of the antagonists in my story is clearly inspired by the Hun leader Shan Yu! In my notes I describe this as-yet-unnamed character as a bearlike, broad-shouldered, and cunning war leader who carries a loyal, helpful bird with him everywhere. Sound familiar?

Why didn’t Shan Yu get a Scar-style song? The bird could have sung harmonies and everything! Missed opportunity, Disney.

It was quite interesting to realise that the mental image I was basing my character on came from somewhere. I remember Shan Yu scaring and awing me in equal parts as a little kid. So it makes sense that when I came to write a brutal ‘barbarian’ war leader I subconsciously chose him as my template.

Sidenote: it reminded me of the time I was swimming naked in the ocean and ‘improvising’ a tune, only to realise it was ‘Colours of the Wind‘ from Pocahontas. I guess Disney has really left its mark on my mind…

In that spirit: bye bye 2016, you fucking weirdo!


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