As we enter the new year, everyone has resolutions for 2021. Losing weight, managing money better, renovating your home, volunteering with youth—all of us have priorities. For myself on the writing front, I plan to finish The Palladia Trilogy this year. That’s a broader goal, thinking more globally. During this month I have just two goals. One is to get back to normal after last month, which was really busy because the holidays intersected with my uncle’s passing away—he died of carbon monoxide poisoning when his furnace malfunctioned and we were told about it on the 26th—and with disastrous plumbing that struck on a chilly New Year’s Eve and left us managing busted pipes and broken faucets for days over the weekend. My sister came on Jan. 2nd for a delayed Christmas party, and while this was nice because I hadn’t seen her in a while, it left me feeling a little bit with a full plate the week after Christmas.
The other is to redo my book descriptions so they sound less like slices of stale bread. I wanted to equalize all of my books last year because some got disproportionately more attention and others had gone unpublished—so I cut down to the basics and did a bare-bones description for each book. All pretty similar and detailing just what’s in the book’s plot components, nothing more. But now I think they are pretty much stabilized, so I’m looking for more of an emotional connection coming out of the blurbs.
A Year with the Harrisons got a makeover last month for market-oriented purposes. It felt complete as a story, but it had always wavered between YA and Women’s fiction--kind of an all-ages sort of thing. The original serial version had Letty as a college girl, but I kicked it down to high-schooler when I published the print in 2018 because the book’s homeschool focus was still big at that time and it made more sense to show a girl who was actually still learning at home. Education turned out not to be an important factor in this book at all, though, and the homeschool component has dwindled to just a couple of mentions here and there. Rather, it’s about an extended family of people who are proudly different from others and can easily get a little full of themselves about it—but isn’t everyone’s family like that? So I moved the book to New Adult, which a writing editorial I subscribe to defined as about women ages 18-30 going through still-youthful life experiences. This held an umbrella over plots with both the protagonists (Letty who is now 18 and Betty who is 28.)
Ryan and Essie also got some definition as I removed the brief mention (unlike in Harrisons it was always very brief) of the Essie character as homeschooled. The idea hadn’t been to explore education, but to polarize the kids even further so they were opposed in every way and couldn't relate to each other at first. But their antagonism isn’t what drives the story. Much more it’s what brings them together as they make moral choices for the first time. Digging into the description to draw out more emotion—since readers who aren’t on my newsletter don’t have the luxury of getting details sent their way twice a month—has been fun since the world of Caricanus has an angle as a creepy kind of place. It’s in ruins, but not abandoned and the followers of Trisagion are quite as questionable as they are austere and tough. So these two kids explore this place with a very deep history and decide what to do about the world, not about each other since they aren’t really a problem.
And there will be more updates.
Pleasant Fiction in an Age of Noise
I write stories about human emotions--about the journey of life. Every step of it can be meaningfully great or simply terrible and you can only reach the end after experiencing many kinds of things that make you grow. Emotional travels are the travels of life and the road of living is not one planned out in notebooks or organized in Scrivener. It is felt in love, hope, and fear and developed through an understanding of why humans go through these. And, on top of that, my stories are adventure stories. History, fantasy, and daily modern situations are all adventures as long as you don't know for sure what's going to happen when you wake up each day. Because that would be like repeating the same day over and over again and who wants to do that?
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