And I have done it. I have completed Arcane Lights. In truth, I completed it two months ago, but I am very delayed getting this up as things have been non-stop over the summer and I have only just found myself with a slither of time to write this update.
It feels crazy – like, honestly, seriously crazy – that I have finished this novel. I’ve been bandying around the story idea for a couple of years, but never really had the cajones to actually make the jump from fantasy from sci-fi. This idea was persistent though, and it kept growing, to the point that I simply had to start. It has been pretty much exactly a year since I started planning. Then NaNoWriMo snuck up on me and it was the perfect excuse to start the novel. I didn’t quite predict how fast that would snowball. It became an addiction. My own personal drug. I would not stop until the story was complete and I managed to write it much quicker than I could ever have hoped.
There is a reason for this. I started writing at a difficult time. My anxiety was the worst it had ever been. Even the thought of leaving the house was drawing from me a torrential downpour of cold sweats. Arcane Lights was my release. It was my way of detaching myself from the world while I rebuilt my mental defences enough that I was not overrun with the dread of being amongst society.
I am happy to say that I am in a better place now, and I can look at the story with a detachment that is not tainted by the comfort it offered me all those months ago. Back then I could only look at it through rose tinted glasses for it was not just words on a page, it was also my confidant, my saviour, and my erstwhile companion while trapped within the confines of my home. Now, while I still hold it as close to my heart as I did then, I can read it with a critical eye and hold it against those original lofty ambitions to see if it truly matches up. After reading it through, and editing it, four times, I can say with my whole heart that it is everything I wanted it to be. Even writing that down puts a smile on my face.
Arcane Lights is a very different beast to A Fire Within. I will admit, it is not as ambitious, but that is because it is more intimate. It has only a fraction of the characters and is less than half the length. I wanted something more concise – a story that would not take me years to plan and write, but one that still held my flavour and passion. And in that, from a wholly subjective perspective, Arcane Lights succeeds. I kept my style. I kept my ideals. All those traits that I picked up while writing A Fire Within are present here but translated to a sci-fi language.
I like to think of this as an ode to my passions. It is no secret that Blade Runner is my favourite film (and I hold 2049 in the same regard). It is the film that got me addicted to sci-fi in the first place. As well as Terminator, Dark City, Alien, and so many more. I watched these films long before I should have, my pre-teen mind absorbing every detail and tattooing them in my memory. These images drove me towards books of the same ilk, and those books even overtook my passion for films. I became enamoured with the bleakness as well as those stabs of hope that tried to break through the oppressive narratives. Influenced by so many works of pure majesty, I wanted to create my own story, and that is how we ended up with Arcane Lights. It’s my own take on a neo-noir story set in a dystopian future – or tech-noir as it is so righteously referred to. It’s intimate, bleak, but also with budding rays of hope eager to burst through. My plan, which is already well underway, is to transform this concise tale into a burgeoning space opera that will break free of its initial strict constraints. I am eager and I am optimistic. I think A Shadow Among the Stars will become a series that I will be very happy with and fulfil my thirst to create my own sci-fi epic. I just have to continue the momentum I have built and crack on with that hard work.