I just started writing the reboot of my own series, The Legion, and it’s A Process. Like … seriously. I think I have put so much more work into this go-round than I did the first time, and I was in no way slacking on that front. And while I’m still proud of the original novellas I wrote years ago, they’re no longer indicative of the type of story I’d like to tell the world, and a great deal of the inspiration to do that was because of The Adventure Zone.
I always wanted to create characters that felt real and nuanced but that also inspired a certain degree of loyalty in the readers. Why would anyone care to read about what they’re doing they aren’t invested in the characters? That mindset actually changed several relationships, but it mainly affected the one between my main character, Ren (who I named well before the identically named character from “The Eleventh Hour,” I promise), and Mason, her “charge.” I had wanted to create a friction between the two because I thought it would be more interesting, but once I realized their sibling-style relationship wasn’t antagonistic: Ren became instantly unlikable and Mason appeared much more naive and reactionary than he actually was. Weirdly enough, that inspiration came from my own issues with how the three main boys treated Angus McDonald. They needlessly tortured him, starting from his introduction in “Murder on the Rockport Limited,” and it just wasn’t amusing to me, even if was obviously played for laughs.
It wasn’t all Griffin that gave me that extra nudge to start over, because seeing (well, listening to) Clint, Justin, and Travis do the same level of creation at the same time is every bit as much responsible, but the degree of commitment from the youngest McElroy was so profound to me. The story he wove, while for the most part letting the others play a role in it, was so incredible, culminating in the best arc, “The Eleventh Hour.” There was a perfect amount of foreshadowing, character development – both for the main characters, but also NPCs – and world building that it had me adding a western feel to The Legion, which wasn’t something I had even thought of.
Most of all, though, The Adventure Zone gets me excited about creating again. I can’t wait to get home from work and spend some time with my characters and their world, and most of all, I am thrilled to be able to share it when it’s ready. I have spent a large part of my life being afraid of showing my work to people, but after seeing the boys’ success after just putting what they created out there, I have a bit more courage than I did before. I’m not saying I won’t be terrified when I finally publish the first novella, because LOL I WILL BE TERRIFIED, but with encouragement from the McElroys (even if it’s not directly from them), I think it’s something I can handle.
Art Credit: Maximum Fun