I will confess something that might or might not matter to all of you—but I will come clean about it anyway. I don’t enjoy putting puzzles together. 😊
When I was a kid I received my fair share of puzzles and so did all my siblings. Puzzles are a nice, safe choice for someone you don’t know well. Some of the pictures were very pretty—lovely paintings or nice stock photos of things like barns against green woods. Eventually as an adult I realized I had NEVER even opened some of them and just gave them away. But many adults love puzzles. They are experts and spend weeks putting together extremely difficult puzzles with thousands of pieces. Often the pictures are chosen because it’s hard to put them together. I remember hearing about a couple who loved to do hard puzzles and they said the hardest one they had ever tried was of three cheetahs. Anyone can use their imagination and visualize what a many-thousands-of-pieces puzzle of nothing but random spots and golden specks would be like. I would consider that real torture, but I think these people enjoyed the challenge.
In recent years I have worked on puzzles a little more because I needed to improve my analytical skills for SWGOH. I love to collect the little characters in this video game, but there is also a population of serious “gaming is my life” people there and if you do not get some of the more difficult, higher-tier characters you can’t get into a good guild and many rewards are available only in guilds. These difficult, higher-tier characters appear in special events that require, in some cases, massive preparation. Seriously, there are whole Youtube channels devoted to tutorial videos for how to do these events and how to play this game generally, and I’m like “I just want this event to be over with quickly, please make it less extreme!”
But then, as I said before, I never liked puzzles. Doing these really hard events is like doing a puzzle. Every piece has to fit together perfectly, including that last piece that’s fallen under the table or gotten lost, or the whole thing won’t work. 😊 Gradually, I’ve learned to enjoy challenging myself more. I realized after watching these tutorial videos that some people actually think this is FUN. These events are deliberately difficult because people love sitting down with a challenge and spending hours figuring out how to do it. They feel it teases and sharpens their brains to examine every angle until they find the right strategy. Until all the pieces are in place. I’m even starting to appreciate the sense of accomplishment prepping for one of these game events is giving me and the heightened sense of detail I have gained.
One of the older books I looked at very little at first was Ryan and Essie. This was a manuscript from my teen years that I put out there simply because I was publishing a lot, like 3 books a year, and was running out of material. I felt it wasn't the best story idea and it didn't have a great hook, but I tried it anyway and then forgot about it. Later I realized that many of its situations could have coded significance--and a reader who "gets" this story might enjoy fitting all the symbolic pieces together to form the completed concept in their mind. Some people love to keep their brains always working, to challenge themselves even when reading a book recreationally. So then I made some edits. I bumped Essie's age up to equal Ryan's and gave her father a specific occupation. This matters because Ryan was given strong individual development, but we knew almost nothing about Essie and her plots were not emotionally equivalent to his because she was younger. Small changes—but for the person who sees a special meaning in every detail, important perhaps. If you put together a puzzle, you have to make sure you do it right.
I am Tarvelas of the Emerald Castle. On Caricanus, a planet far beyond yours in the distant reaches of the universe, my home is called Castile Enfarm. It is one of the seven great castles of Caricanus. Each one was carved out of a great jewel in ancient times and filled with the light of Trisagion. Our deity.
My home is dying. Humans made this planet's history when they came to it from your world. Now, two humans have come to Caricanus again. A boy and a girl. They are named Ryan and Essie. They are ordinary children except they both possess far too much stubbornness. Their coming is the fulfillment of a prophecy and I know it will kill me. I can feel it. I won't be the only one who dies. What is happening will shake up and change the whole world. And I also know, strange as it sounds, that this is a very good thing. If your world is falling into darkness, there are worse things than death. There are forces of total destruction. These two children represent life and in doing that they bring death to what is old, but not destruction. Right now they focus too much on what is unimportant, on things that don't need to be looked at.
They must learn to care about others.
And there will be more updates.
Young Adult Fiction Writer
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