We anchor our years through the holidays we celebrate. Think about it: we celebrate new beginnings, commemorate great moments of religious significance, and remember great moments in our national history. Holidays possess their own traditions, superstitions, histories, and importance. Different holidays matter different amounts (looking at you, President's Day).
Because holidays are woven so deeply into the fabric of any society, when you're designing a fictitious world, it's weird if there is nothing celebrated regularly. When I designed Summer Twilight, I put a lot of thought into one particular holiday in Rosemoor Dell: the Harvest Festival. In this article, I'll take you though some of the processes I used to develop the holiday and help it feel authentic.
This week, I had a conversation at work about what it means to be an adult. An intern I work with observed that adults just seem to fumble through life - basically the only thing that changes as you grow up is that you get better at faking it. I told her she was absolutely correct; that's the biggest secret of "adulting". None of us know what we're doing, we just sort of keep going forward until someone tells us we're doing it wrong. Then we course correct, and start the cycle all over again.
According to psychologists, imposter syndrome is characterized by a deep-seated fear that you have only succeeded due to luck, rather than talent, qualifications, or hard work. It's a very familiar phenomena to many - it's estimated today that up to 70% of people experience this feeling of being an imposter at least once in their lives, regardless of gender, profession, or socioeconomic status.
Last Friday was my dog's birthday. It was also the release of Taylor Swift's latest album, evermore. Oh, and my first book, Summer Twilight, came out.
In the weeks leading up the the release, I was terrified and thrilled in turn. I felt simultaneously like a kid the night before Christmas, too filled with anticipation to sleep, and like it was the night before my SATs, stomach churning with nerves. It was a weird conundrum, an emotional dissonance. People asked me how I was and my natural answer was "Oh I'm so excited!". But was I?
For as long as I can remember, I've carried around a notebook. The one which stands out most vividly in my mind is the one I had when I was 10: it was white with a puppy on it wearing a cartoon crown and "holding" a wand. My notebooks were filled with fragments of stories - scenes that popped into my mind, characters I wanted to explore, and the beginnings of worlds I wanted to create.
The first "book" I wrote was called The Story of the Unicorns. It's a story I wrote under pine trees during summer camp, on my family's PC, in my bed with only the purple lights hanging in my room for illumination. I wove in themes and moments from my favorite books: I added in a dragon when I read Eragon; started calling my characters a fellowship when I read Lord of the Rings. It was a wide-ranging narrative where my main character, a priestess named Aria, explored an entire island, visiting wood elves in the northern forests and the seaside villages of the southern plains. I still have the book (a 200+ page narrative) saved and look at it sometimes for inspiration.
Bridget is the author of Summer Twilight, available for purchase now!