Since I roughly have a book for every year I’ve been writing, I now have a few “characters” to play around with. The cast of books isn’t complete, of course, and I have many more books planned. Every good story told is essentially the same one over and over. It has the exact same arcs, types of situations, strong areas, weak areas, weird areas, things that need to be brought out more, parts that are misunderstood and can help explore someone’s psychology, etc.
Although I don’t have all the “characters” yet, I have 9 by now, with each book being like a character in a larger story. I actually expect people to be interested in just one or two, because that’s how they respond to characters. (That puts my mind at ease about genre writing, which like many authors I’d viewed as a sort of necessity. But writing genre would have every book be the same, which would be like showing the exact same character over and over and over and over.)
Here’s a list of them:
It’s time to have a little discussion of Essie from Ryan and Essie. (Very easy to remember, right?) Essie starts out as a child, although the later areas of the book feel slightly older. So perhaps she aged a touch traveling through that wormhole to Caricanus. She seems 9 at the beginning, a very destined-for-something little girl, and is perhaps 12 at the end when she and Ryan have their big growth experience and learn to see each other’s POV.
I can’t describe how long I’ve worked with the Essie character. She truly feels like someone I have always known. Essie’s personality is blazingly distinctive. She is the sort of person who seems created to mess things up. She often does risky, weird, or questionable things with literally no regard for safety—her own or other people’s. She is astonishingly resilient and is so foolhardy because she seems to know she won’t get much hurt. That’s not the sort of thing that happens to Essie. It happens to other people.
Her bounce-back optimism amounts to aggression a lot of the time. She pushes other people beyond their endurance—in the tragic case of the plant-girl Crissy, for instance—because she can’t sympathize. This experience with Crissy helps her gain wisdom and awareness of other people’s boundaries, but it has to go to the ultimate because only then can they get past Essie’s staring green eyes into her head. Essie knows she is special. But she has to respect the gifts and needs of other people and that’s hard for her.
Essie is that brash because she is like no one else. I can mix and match a bit with my other heroines, but Essie has always had an exact appearance. She is short and strong. She has a snub nose, a proud, slightly dimwitted smile. She has curly, tangled red hair and bright green eyes. And she is almost like a force of physics—the Law of Something or Other, possibly not yet discovered, that bounds into alcoves and changes the world.
And there will be more updates.
Ryan and Essie have always been there. When I was a kid, I drafted a part of a story about them and their twins—very beta, of course, and not the story we read today. But still, they were Ryan and Essie. Even when I was very young, I knew that they represented ideas. I meant them to contrast in every way. I carefully made sure every detail about them was opposite. A little later, when I was more of a teenager, I added characters like Tarvelas and Viltan, and a rather expanded area with just Ryan and his adventures with these characters.
I trimmed this back because I wanted absolute balance between the two and I had written more Ryan than Essie material. I wanted sets of chapters to alternate, so a lot of extra Farlent and Vindillam stuff didn’t make it in. But we still see quite enough of these characters, especially Tarvelas, to understand what they bring to Ryan and Essie’s world. It’s a story I’ve always felt very far from personally, which sounds odd because stories formulated early are likely to be very personal. After all, I was too young to be professional. But this book is about ideas and ideas aren’t personal. They are beyond.
Ryan and Essie has always had a resilient strength from within, a sort of harsh, dry integrity. It is about what it is about and nothing can change that. That’s why it wrote itself rather than that I had much control over it. As an adult I made an ending for the story and linked Ryan and Essie’s duality into a kind of Christian philosophy, because that’s the belief system I’m used to and the story, I felt, should tie into the biggest thing there is. I’m not trying to preach, just to say this story is about big ideas.
It is a quiet story too. It has never made a lot of noise. And that is what makes it unique.
And there will be more updates.
7 books published and 3 more on the way. Farmer's daughter, Star Wars fan, loves to read rather than talk about reading. Always has time to finish her WIP.