Unexpected Tour Off / Oh Canada

18 Feb

If you’re worried about Canada – all I can say is it’s going to get bumpy, but I know it’s going to be okay.  I know Who has us. I’ll leave it at that; just keep loving each other, even if you don’t agree with them. I’m crying watching live footage of the police going after peaceful protestors.

               On Sunday I twisted my ankle. I didn’t think it was that bad, but I cut my workout short and decided to rest it. Let’s just say I can walk on it and I’ve definitely blown it worse, but I really shouldn’t be walking on it. It’ll take longer to heal.

               I got my old crutches and I was told to expect a blizzard. Sounds like a good excuse to sit on my butt and get some writing related work done.

               Titan’s Ascent is coming along, but it needs more polish. I’ll probably be able to publish Underman soon. It’s really hard to describe when I know a book’s good enough neither it’s not quite there yet, and it’s not me being a prima donna. I need a break from it, editing in general – and I have other projects I can work on.

I booked an online book tour for Witchslayer’s Scion; I’ll let you know when the dates are set. I’m also booking a review-only our for The Mermaid and the Unicorns, and March is Giveaways Month on Goodreads, so I’ll let you know now I’ll probably do one of those too.

I need to do more OT (or at least my regular time, hah!) college fees are due next month, but assuming I’m back at work next tour it shouldn’t be a problem, assuming my assets aren’t frozen for wrongthink.

Continuing a Series with Different Characters

               As I’ve said before, Witchslayer’s Scion was a spin-off of a series I created in Jr High, and is a prequel that allowed me to expand on things because the scope of the world is so huge, it was impossible to explain everything, and to be honest it was also a good excuse to spread out information across two series.

               Underman, a novella, was an excuse to paint a picture for what it’s like for an island character who isn’t Nisiris. I didn’t like that there was a jarring move away from the sudden rebellion in the seas – but it was also pointless to go on about it, because the Imperium at the time had a united naval front, so the islands that were in close proximity to the mainland were just pumelled back into submission. Doing anything like that felt like it was filler taking away from the story. Granted I happily write long books, but I am trying my best to write tighter novels.

                Growing up I was always told the best stories should be self-contained. I think in general I agree with that, as technically The Lord of the Rings is one book split into parts. That isn’t to say that I don’t mind books that leave the reader hanging and they need to get the next book to find out what happens next, and I think that’s something that’s fine if you’re in say, a rather large series, I think of the Marvel Movies and how, with few exceptions, most films stand on their own. It certainly helps if you’ve seen the movies in order, but if I can’t remember a certain film or haven’t watched the spin-off shows, I’m not completely lost (and no, I haven’t seen every film or do I have Disney Plus. So same idea with Book of Bobba Fett and The Mandalorian). I think it can get a little tiring when the issue raised in say, a seven book series, the character is stuck at square one for the entirety of the series.  I think it works for the right type of reader. I think too often what we see is things that are said to work in market trends – hence why readers of Wheel of Time are upset with the changes to the series, because it’s meant to be more streamlined, and hit those notes with a mainstream audience.

               Movies and shows are expensive to produce, whereas with writing it costs the same amount in words for epic battles as witty banter. I’m not saying that writers should be given free reign and editors aren’t important; Especially with Wheel of Time, people complain about several titles in the middle and call them ‘The Slog’. I’ll be the first one to admit that if I was reading it I’d probably skip over certain chapters, but it’s much more tolerable when you’re listening to an audiobook while you’re driving or otherwise preoccupied with your hands. I’ve heard multiple people say that the stories would be much better if it were much tighter, with plots like Faile’s capture and Elayne’s quest for her crown omitted. But for me, I don’t mind the subtle details and the author going into the background for something we might consider innocuous.

               I think so long as you’re not beating a dead horse of the original plot and expanding, it can be quite enjoyable. I get it when a reader is waiting for a continuation of a character’s story and they’re not in it at all – because the story’s grown large and unruly.

               Back to my writing, I shouldn’t say it took me by surprise but Koth is not the main character in Titan’s Ascent. In the first book, several people who helped Koth and Una are arrested, some of them executed. One slave spoke out and had her mind broken by a mage, and I ran with her as the main character for what would have happened after her mind was healed and the gravity of the situation took effect. She had a year of her life stolen, as well as the people around her murdered. In a way, she blamed Koth while starting down a similar road, but unlike him, was born without power or a useful skillset, and was of almost an invisible status in her society.

               That’s not to say that Koth’s not important. He’s key to the plot kicking off – both fixing Marjani’s mind and really being responsible for the Titular Titan coming back on the scene. The story has always been bigger than Koth setting out from his village to avenge his brother’s murder. In the main timeline, he’s introduced as an older badass that’s willing to do the work that makes people with better moral compasses uncomfortable. I could have left him at the end of Magus’ Gambit and focused on Una’s divided path (which I promise will be answered) but I wanted to give some sort of resolution to the people of the islands. What I didn’t want was this to be a story of the evil empire and the poor island citizens – I wanted nuance. In the main story line, this rebellion sets off and initiates other civil wars – Tenagee was a rising empire that imploded from within, and the poetic justice in Lamont and Elza trying to manipulate the future to avoid it, lead to Lamont starting it.

               I’m still in the idea-writing phase of The Mermaid and the Unicorns 2 (no title) and it’s following after Esperanza as opposed to Daphne. The generic plot is, that roughly a year after the first book, Espy’s brother Alfred has set to sea and his ship goes missing. Espy needs Daphne and her friend’s help to find out what happened, as there’s conflicting stories. The main reason it felt natural to go with Espy as opposed to Daphne was that while both girls grew, Daphne was the main viewpoint character and was less mature to begin with, and her flaws were obvious. I don’t know if this’ll stay the same as I write a more solid story as opposed to writing scenes and playing with ideas.

               How do you feel about stories that not only change focus, but change characters? Will you read or watch something obscure set in the same universe just to be complete, or are there certain storylines you could care less about?

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