Behind the Scenes: The Diary of Kaashif Sarwan

This post contains spoilers about my novella. If you haven’t read it, check out parts one, two, and three before reading this post.

Yesterday I released part three of my first novella, The Diary of Kaashif Sarwan. I posted it in three parts because of the length. I wanted to break it into manageable chunks, and two parts were still not right.

That all happened after the story was finished. This post is a look at ideas and inspirations I had while writing.

I don’t know the exact timeline, but quite a long time ago, a few of my writing friends and I were choosing writing prompts and sharing short stories. We all wrote from the same prompt and had the same amount of time to write. We started with every two weeks, then realized we were too busy for that to be adequate. It switched to once a month, rotating who chose the prompt.

Someone chose this prompt: “It’s been so long that no one knows why the walls were built. Nobody wants to leave.”

I recall wanting someone to pick it. I don’t think I chose it, though, if I remember correctly.

At first I didn’t have a clear plan. I just started writing and went where my thoughts said to go.

Then I named Kaashif Sarwan. Both parts of his name are related to exploring or adventure or discovery. I don’t remember exactly what meaning I chose, but both parts have the same meaning. Because that’s what he is.

Around that same time I realized this story should take place on Irqulnirn, in the N’Zembe system. I’d been thinking about the star system and how far away Irqulnirn was from the star. I created quarzyls to be the solution and explanation for how Irqulnirn could support life. I decided/figured out what was outside the walls and why they were built. That led me to write the Apocalypse of Irqulnirn, the background for this novella.

Once I knew how and why the walls were built, I had to go about the business of writing Kaashif through his journey to the top of the walls.

When I first had the idea for the dead world outside the walls, the conclusion was going to be bleak. Hopeless.

But because of how quarzyls “work,” and their life-giving abilities, I was able to work in a hopeless, depressed period for Kaashif and end with hope.

This story is as much about Kaashif as it is about my own journey with depression. Not literally or even symbolically, but experientially, to a degree. I wrote my depression into Kaashif as part of his journey, including the hopeful ending.

I changed as my vision for the story changed.

When I thought the ending would be bleak, I was in a dark place and wanted to reflect that artistically.

When my vision morphed to something more hopeful, I’d come to a more optimistic, hopeful place in my own life.

This post is a bit different compared to my other posts. I’ve never written about what the nature of inspiration in writing stories is for me.

This post also marks 50 days of blogging! In another 50 days I could do something like this again, provided I have a new story to write the behind-the-scenes for.

Journal: 24 February 2017

This is a new series comprised of past journal entries I wrote followed by some current thoughts about it, if I have any. The reason for sharing a particular entry will vary. Some may be recorded story ideas, interesting events from my past, or some weird or fun thought I had that I wrote down.

Image result for knockerballIdea for a species that is overprotective of children, so makes them live in knockerball-like aparati (the plural of aparatus). Time passes and the species develops severe germophobia. The “knockerballs” increase in tech and soon allow the individuals to do everything, like the chairs in Wall-E for the humans. The species hates interacting with others outside of their bubbles and having actual contact with them — this culminates in a population crisis of some sort because so few members of the species actually reproduce.


Image result for wall-e

I had this idea with two of my friends at a get together where we played knockerball. Parts of the idea were mine, parts of it weren’t. I really like this idea, and wanted to co-write something with those two friends, so I should reach out to them and see if we could do that.

The Journal: 23 February 2017

This is a new series comprised of past journal entries I wrote followed by some current thoughts about it, if I have any. The reason for sharing a particular entry will vary. Some may be recorded story ideas, interesting events from my past, or some weird or fun thought I had that I wrote down.

What if humans (or some other species) could connect their brains and share information that way? Like, instead of teachers standing in front of a classroom to teach students things, their brains would be connected and the teacher would send the lesson, facts, assignments, etc. straight to their brains. Or to teach someone else to crochet, your brain would send theirs the details of how to do it.

This could turn into a story idea at some point. We’ll see.


I think this could make for a really interesting story world. What the story would be, I don’t know, but I like it. If someone wants to use this concept as a prompt, please do and send me what you come up with!

Maybe we could do a crowd-sourced (ish) collaboration project and make a collection of short stories based on this idea. If you’d be interested in that, comment below or email me at alyssachantelwright@gmail.com.