Greetings! I’m Junkomi Eno, creator of the light novel Beyond the Borders—commonly now abbreviated as BTB. This book you just finished—or if you skipped to the afterword, didn’t finish—was for a contest on a popular site called Honeyfeed. Although it is small, the community is kind, warm, and helpful. The contest rules were fairly simple: pick a prompt, and write a story that contained those elements within that prompt in some way. Originally, I didn’t think I would write for the contest, yet when I saw the prompt for Slaughter Survivor, and under that the theme of War, I knew I’d enter without a second thought.
Six was a light novel that was written in about three weeks. Hammering out almost 70k words was a mental exhaustion but in the end I believe it was worth it. Readers of BTB will find some similarities to my previous work. Like always, it is a dark fantasy book, though I believe it to be more grimdark this time around, and centers around a soldier in an elite unit. While BTB is different from Six, readers may note some of the crossovers between the two books:
Lylianna is an elite soldier. Aystaria is an elite soldier.
Lylianna has white hair. Aystaria has white hair.
Lylianna suffers from PTSD. Aystaria suffers from survivors guilt.
Both books are dark in nature, with Six being a bit watered down for the contest.
Both books have torture seen in them, with Six being less graphic due to the PG-13 rating.
Lylianna is a badass. Aystaria is a badass.
About the only difference between these two books is the fact that Lylianna appears cold, strict, and commanding, whereas Aystaria is always smiling, happy, and cheerful. The magic system is another thing in the books that diverge. Unlike BTB where I had time to flesh out a large scale magic system, in Six I had to loosely define my magic system. Six made use of only one type of magic that was present only in two types of races. This allowed me to ensure I didn’t get bogged down in the details of the magic system.
Another thing of note is the languages used in the book. With BTB, I had time to craft six different languages for each of the different kingdoms. Of course, with not much time to outline, plot out the story, setup the setting, and characters, I had to cut corners with the languages, and simply use languages from our real world such as Latin, and Greek. The biggest different between BTB, and Six is the obvious drop in graphic content. In BTB I was able to allow what was needed for the story, and not hold anything back. Six, on the other hand, had to be watered down until it was safe for a the average teenager. In many of the scenes it’s clear there is meant to be more from the romantic yuri moments, and the graphic violent moments. Yet, there was little I could do other than decide that when the contest was over to publish a print version that holds nothing back.
The idea behind this light novel was simply taking the idea of Dragon Age, and Game of Thrones—along with some other dark fantasy anime such as Made in Abyss. Unlike BTB that made use of fantasy, and magic with modern-like weapons, Six follows the standard fantasy genre with the setting loosely-based on the Renaissance era. While guns are rare, and exist in the world, for the most part they aren’t seen used throughout the light novel. This isn’t to say that they will never be used or seen.
A fair bit of things seen throughout the light novel are generally loosely-based or make reference to an event, setting or characters. For example, the Shadow Takers are based off of the Grey Wardens in Dragons Age. Overall, I’m quite pleased with how most of the characters turned out, and for my main character Aystaria who continues to smile even in the darkest of days. While I do love Aystaria, if I was to pick a character that wasn’t the main lead, I’d have to say Rita was simply my favorite to write. He was unpredictable, and always fun. Writing him was probably the most easiest, and natural to me throughout writing the whole book.
After finishing this book, I’ll end up trying to outline the second volume if time allows. For now though, I think I will focus on BTB volume nine before writing anymore of this story. Until next time, keep doing what you love, and maybe one day it will turn into something beautiful.