I recently started a new job which is giving me more time to write. As I was working on “Honored” chapter 5, I realized that between “Dishonor” and “Honored” I have passed 100,000 words.
Liv’s story has gone quite far from the early world I first envisioned as a senior in high school. In the original envisioning of the story, she lived in a slum where the Dishonored were kept (The Dishonored caste was inspired by the lowest caste in the Indian caste system). The guards were simply stationed around the edges of the slum and the dregs of society were thrown in there.
As I built up the city, I realized there were a couple problems with this model. Number one was that this city was going to have to be huge to provide for the people living in it. Space and supplies would be to valuable to allow people to just live as a useless part of the cog. In this society I saw it as more likely that these people would just be killed off rather than taking up space which wouldn’t work well for my story because then Liv would be dead and no story.
I had and epiphany and realized that the Dishonored’s existence could be justified if they had a job, but of course, people wouldn’t want the Dishonored just roaming the city. To these people that would be like allowing convicted felons to roam among them.
This made me think, “Well, if people consider them the same as felons, what if they live like felons?”
From here the slum became a prison. But this prison was for people that everyone hated and looked down on. This prison was a place where all the people were just a broken leg away from being killed for taking up resources and space.
Around this time in the planning process of the story I was looking at traveling to Cambodia and Thailand. One of the things that I was going to do was to see a torture prison from the Khmer Rouge regime. This influenced me into deciding to reflect the torture prisons from genocides.
The prison for the Dishonored in my book takes a little from the Holocaust of World War II and a little from the torture prison in Phnom Penh in Cambodia. I will stress that in no way is the prison of Dishonor anywhere near as bad as these prisons.
At one point a reviewer told me that the over abundance of gratuitous violence was grating and angsty and I should tone down the violence. I tried to keep the violence down while keeping it real. Torture prisons are ugly horrible places. The small stories of violence and personal humiliation are nothing like those of the torture prison in Phnom Pehn. I wanted to try and make the violence senseless and horrible, like these places.
After some thought and advice from my editor about the readers and age I was writing for, I reworked the violence so that each moment of violence had a point and was better sewn onto the story.
This version of the treatment of the Dishonored is what you will read in my most current version of the story.
Dishonor is free to read on inkitt.com right now: