Ah see now, I bet you didn’t think I’d come up with anything for Q did you? Well I have. Ha ha! (I still haven’t fathomed out X yet but like with most of my writing I’ll worry about that when I get to it. This is supposed to be a challenge after all.)
So Q is for quest.
My whole writing journey actually began with writing a short quest story with my class of 10 year olds. At the time we were studying fiction genre and the children were to write their own stories. To make life easier, from a teaching point of view in this day and age where technicality of writing is measured and assessed and deemed more important than creativity, I decided we would all write in the same genre. I found a story prompt for an adventure quest story and duly set about modelling writing one with them ready for them to write their own. Mine was called “Land of the Forgotten”. It was about a quest to slay a beast which I named a Flotsaith. The Flotsaith was a snake-like beast with oily black skin and which rose over three metres into the air on a strong, fish-like tail. Its jaw was full of fangs as big as elephants tusks and it could take away a person’s memories if they looked directly into its hollowed out eyes. I will go back to that story and polish it up one day because it was great fun to do but it was fairly basic as a modelled piece of writing for ten-year olds and I’ve learned so much since then. But it was through writing that which led me to go back (as I’d really enjoyed the creative process) and resurrect that idea I’d had lurking in the back of my mind for ‘Prophecy Of Innocence’ since I was twelve years old.
Prophecy, I believe at least, is essentially a quest story. Not a traditional quest story in that the elflings are not searching for an object of any kind and they do not send their weakest, most unlikely hero to do it. (I’m clearly thinking of The Lord of The Rings here.) Neither is the main quest to defeat a foe or a terrifying beast of some description (although this does become part of my main protagonist’s personal goal, contrary to the goal of the community of elflings).
The main ‘quest’ in the first part of Prophecy of Innocence is for the elflings to find out what it is which is destroying their land. I put quest in inverted commas here because some may argue that this isn’t a quest at all but more a mystery which needs solving. I’d agree in part. However, this is only a piece of the over-arching quest to find out who the ‘innocents’ are. The ‘innocents’ are mentioned in an ancient prophecy which declares these so-called ‘innocents’ will come to save the elflings. But the words are vague and so the elfings press on initially with more immediate goals, such as the quest to search for other elfling tribes and to re-build their own community as they fear they are in danger of extinction.
The main quest, to find the ‘innocents’, is an ongoing one. It is not resolved entirely in Book 1. This is because the three books are not completely stand alone. They are in fact one book divided into three volumes and although Book 1 does have resolutions and neat enough tie-ups at the end there are of course a few questions left dangling for the reader because I never intended for this to be one volume. It’s too big a story.
However, I will stress the main quest is often sidelined throughout the three books when other events take over the elfling’s lives. But then isn’t this like life itself? We all have a main goal or ‘quest’ in life but sometimes our quest might change. At other times, quite often in fact, other things happen and side track us onto mini quests or adventures before we get back on track with our main goal. Sometimes those mini quests feed into our main quest. I certainly have found my writing journey to be like this as I’m sure other writers out there find too. I know my main quest is to finish and publish Prophecy Of Innocence. In the meantime I write short stories or blog posts or Friday Phrases micro-fiction, all of which help me along on my journey to the bigger main goal.
I suppose, by that premise we could conclude most stories are quest stories, couldn’t we?