Welcome to more new subscribers! If you’d like to learn more about my writing and what motivates me to do it, there’s a link at the bottom of this post to last week’s post which gives a little info on What I Write and Why!
And now for this week’s post . . . .
Victoria: A Tale of Spain, my 17th-century lower YA adventure story, wouldn’t have come about without a European trip I took about 9 years ago. The concept for the trip wasn't mine--I hadn’t even thought about going to Europe--and none of the locations and itinerary were chosen by me. In particular, I’d never thought of visiting Spain and I ended up staying there about 7 weeks one summer. If I had considered a trip of my own, it would probably have been focused on the British Isles because that’s the Europe I’m most familiar with from books and movies.
But sometimes things in life just JUMP out at you. They fly in your face and you seem surrounded by a milling blur of impressions, people surrounding you, loud voices, and confusing activities launched at you. Sometimes a story is hiding somewhere in that blur. A story that is launching itself directly into your face. And when anyone is coming straight towards you, let alone a story, you might as well say, “Well, Hello There” and accept it.
At first I didn’t get a lot out of that trip. Secretly, I’d always assumed it couldn’t have the slightest usefulness to my storytelling and to me, writing stories is absolute as a grade for whether I care about it. As a trip it was fun, yes, and had memorable moments. But I didn’t feel they were USEFUL moments. I didn’t see any incidents or places that I wanted to write about after months spent abroad. And when I’m not getting an idea for a story, I feel like moving on. But several years later, I wrote a small draft of a story set in Spain. It wasn’t much good—very angsty and melodramatic, with tense and unhappy family relationships and symbolic action sequences. Later I merged it into a light-hearted little novella that had used some of the El Escorial palace setting as an influence, though not much else in Spain.
I didn’t want to work on the merge of the two because it was a lot of effort for a setting and type of story that was so unusual I couldn’t see much of a real market for the completed book. But the story continued to call my name and Boom, Fly in My Face until I worked on it. And in the end, I’m glad I did. Victoria is a more interesting story than I believed it was and it definitely occupies a place in my books. After all, I like to do unusual ideas once I realize they DO have an audience.
And there will be more updates.
With so many great books already out there by other people, why do I want to contribute any of my own? What are my stories about? Since a lot of you have just recently heard of me, most through reader magnet signups, I'll have a brief get-to-know-me post. I have also (finally!) merged my two email lists into one. The lists were duplicates in the weekly content they sent out, so subscribers merged into this list won’t see anything different except the email subject line is a slight variation and the emails go out on Saturday instead of Friday. (And the email header image is updated.)
Essentially, I write because I like to take on ideas that I see other people aren't doing as much of. My stories aren't oddities--they should feel at least moderately familiar--and all are family-friendly. I don't do less common concepts because I want to include above-common levels of violence, for example. But if there's something "different" about an idea it's usually because that idea has a different audience attached to it. Perhaps an unexplored or even an actively secretive audience. Genre concepts about, for instance, the future can seem similar in many books after you've read a lot of them. But what if there's someone out there--someone lurking--who has a quite different view of the future? In their fiction, their cliches and world-building might surprise you. And just because they're not as visible doesn't mean they're not out there.
I've been publishing for 12 years and I mention futuristic fiction as an example because many of you will have downloaded The Birthday Present. (And it's also the first sample in the 9-chapter Sampler others of you might have caught.) The Birthday Present, which is a set of two stories, was actually my first publication all those years ago. For many years I was so wrapped up in throwing out all these obscure ideas as they came to me that I didn't do a good job of marketing at all. So starting in 2017 I reprocessed my publications so they could be more accessible. In a sense, more competitive. The front page of my website briefly overviews some of the improvements to my work's marketing during this time.
And there will be more updates.
This week’s post is about Ryan and Essie, but before I launch into the post you should know about a GREAT giveaway opportunity. Until the 31st, my book The Birthday Present is free as part of a big January all-genre free book event. Many authors participating and over 80 books available. Download as many books as you want to by subscribing to the author’s newsletters here storyoriginapp.com/to/R78Fzt0
For people already subscribed to my newsletter, you can get a copy of The Birthday Present as a perk. Just hit this link and verify your email. And check out all the other great authors!
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Ryan and Essie have always been there. When I was a little kid, I first drafted part of a story about how these two children found a distant planet. As a teen the royalty of Caricanus and their intrigues started to show up, with Tarvelas and Viltan. The story was finished much later, as an adult, when I added the ending and stitched it all together.
But I didn’t realize until even more years had passed that what had always been there was a sense of humor. Behind the zany comedy and adventure of kid's books lie a good deal of accidental (or at times intentional) satire of the adult world. Many things are mentioned in comedy for children as a way of exploring them. Adults often take things too seriously. Life is a serious, serious business. People have to work hard, be attractive, get married, get good jobs, plan for retirement, bury their parents, pay for health insurance, and make sure Christmas-with-the-relatives goes off perfectly. But what about the fun people had as kids?
Ryan, a miniature grown-up in the making, is already no fun. He’s uncurious, plays it safe, and always thinks about the bottom line. And he is also a funny character. It also makes a good learning experience for kids, who are used to having the adult world made fun of in their stories. Essie is all child and has the exact personality that makes many adults wish children would sit still. But kids don’t do that. And when Ryan wishes Essie would do that, when he is himself a kid, they are thrown into outer space in the sort of way that children like.
Well, until they grow up to be like Ryan.
And there will be more updates.
Pleasant Fiction in an Age of Noise
This blog serves as the newsletter for Sarah Scheele.com. Posts are delivered to your inbox every Saturday. For fast subscription instead of visiting a link to another website, fill out the form below and you will receive the 9-Chapter Sampler shown above, in PDF. To get the book in Epub or Mobi formats you will need to use the external link above.
When I set about defining my books, I wanted them to be positive places where a gentleness emanated from the pages. A hopeful safety lies in gentleness and there's also an honesty to it. A whirlwind of pushy book blurbs and hot characters (or whatever type character the author wants you to admire) can conceal a reality underneath. A quiet--possibly even lurking--reality that's more visible if you dial down the volume. That lurking reality isn't necessarily bad, but like anything quiet, it gets drowned out by conflict and angst. Peaceful fiction can help explore the truth that noisy books ignore.
Bellevere House has been featured on Ezvid Wiki video "10 Wonderfully Inventive Retellings That Interpret Classic Stories in a New Way." Click to see the video.