Over the past couple of years, I’ve been given quite a few clothes that I’ve never or rarely worn. So last month I looked at them and thought, “you know, you never wear these because you’re not sure if they coordinate together and what goes with what. That means you most likely WILL never wear them unless you start trying them on and putting them into outfits.” I started putting stray pieces into sets. I assigned a dedicated blouse/poncho/something to wear on top for each skirt or pair of pants. And I went on until, eventually, I turned a pile of random things into something less random, something with a purpose. For clothes, since being worn is their purpose, I guess they now have one.
Millhaven Castle and The Birthday Present used to be random little strays too. While people liked Millhaven Castle, it didn’t belong with the semi-epic fantasy mood of Facets of Fantasy, so to improve Facets of Fantasy I took MC out. It was too short to stand alone, so it went to The Birthday Present. These two stories didn't fit with anything else I'd written, but they didn’t seem to go together either. Presenting them as a contrast was my initial idea, but that’s like wearing bright green with bright red. It only works sometimes, like at Christmas, and other times it’s just silly.
A sci-fi story about how mutants almost wiped out humans just had nothing to do with Millhaven’s little spinoff of period drama. Until I noticed (and my readers probably saw it before I did!) that Millhaven's setting needn’t actually be viewed as historical. In fact, while castles are from an older culture they still exist and can even be inhabited. Farming, socializing through dancing, and people holding a position of wealth or importance over others happen today and could certainly exist in the future. So gradually the visualization of Millhaven Castle moved from a separate world into another story about the Birthday Present world. The Birthday Present is about the old conflict between humans and mutants being ended. Millhaven Castle is a little episode that takes place within the society of the mutants themselves. Typical, middle-class people who aren’t connected to the royalty or the military that appear in TBP. The different regions of the country have a lot of autonomy and their regional leaders almost have a position of minor kings, like Lord Timson.
So the people in these two stories are in such different spheres that they have never interacted with each other, keeping their episodes distinct. I have already added a new introduction to the book, called "The World of Aure's Dominion," in which the connection between the two stories is clarified, plus I have assigned regional tags to the story locations. The Birthday Present mostly occurs in the Kaline district, of which Arnea is the capital, and Millhaven Castle takes place in the Milland district, of which Flangost is the capital. And the book's description now elaborates that GMFs are like superheroes gone bad and they tried to crush normal humans instead of saving them. Although that's not the end of the story, of course.
And there will be more updates.
Young Adult Fiction Writer
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