It’s hard to be comfortable with yourself. But it doesn’t matter at all what other people think about you. Except, ironically, they like you a lot more when you ARE yourself. If a person is fake all the time, they are boring (because they never talk about what they’re interested in) and weak (to care so much for the opinion of others.) So I exhaustively “rewrote” each story to remove things I only included out of insecurity—in short, returned it to its original form. There was barely a story that wasn’t touched by the extraneous-material-syndrome—some just a paragraph, others an entire plot or subplot.
And there will be more updates.
Every author wants to entertain. That’s why we write. What drives us is the dream of developing characters that people react to. We want our stories to be exciting, to be interactive places where people become passionate about what we’ve created.
In the early years of my publishing I became desperate to get attention. I noticed people were not highly motivated to respond to my work and I started to include material that was extraneous to the stories. It had nothing to do with the tales I was telling. But this material, I thought correctly, would interest the people I was trying to impress with my books. And it DID. They were interested by that material.
But it was at the cost of the stories and of my self-esteem. Not only did these inclusions detract from the books, they sometimes backfired and caused negative reactions from readers. I was quite hurt because, in all honesty, I’d only included these elements to interest the readers. And they WERE interested—without that negative reaction, they had little response to the book at all. “How ungrateful!” I thought. Even when reactions were less negative, I didn’t see any engagement unless I put in irrelevant material.
Trying to change something to get people’s attention is just a way of trying to fit in. If people will only notice you when you change yourself, those aren’t people you should care about. Every author deserves the kind of fans they should really care about—the fans who care about them. In the course of the last 18 months I’ve revised every one of my stories to remove this extraneous material.
These changes aren’t to alter or hide what was in the books, but instead to reveal the true story. In another post I’ll detail exactly what changes were made. In the meantime—just be yourself. You’re a lot better at it than you think.
And here will be more updates.
For the series of really odd characters who come in pairs, Viltan and Ethan make a textbook addition. Ethan first appeared in very, very early drafts as Essie’s outer-space twin counterpart. She had one and Ryan had one (Rianna.) But Ethan’s personality went in a weird direction that isn’t necessary based on his role as Essie’s twin. He’s . . . silent, yet opinionated. He’s calm, but seems tense all the time. (Or are people just tense around him?) And while most of his activity is making friends with people, he’s somehow hostile.
Viltan isn’t explained at all. He showed up in a later draft of the story, in which Tarvelas also first appeared, after the plot with the twins was created. He had a lot of interest in Tarvelas and some of that still lingers in the final book. He’s never offered anything to the story and doesn’t have a reason to be friends with Essie’s twin—yet they are definitely friends. They seem inseparable. His duplicitous nature seems almost random and guaranteed to do nothing but get him in trouble. It almost strains credibility that he wouldn’t find another way to occupy his time.
But Viltan and Ethan do lend a lot of color—albeit, mostly shades of gray and orange (gray because Viltan is always trying to hide who he is and orange because that’s the color of Ethan’s hair)—to the areas around King Karpalff’s city of Nofalla. So they’re both likable characters, although a strange duo.
And there will be more updates.
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I live surrounded by cultivated fields that rapidly give way to wild flowers, wild plants, and wild life. I get most of my ideas while drifting innocuously around my house and some of those ideas get into print.
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