I had evolved as a writer both professionally and personally. Not only had I taken on more responsibility at my 9-to-5 job (writing more complex manuals and documents, and acting as an editor and designer), I had also replaced my newsletters with a blog.
The blog gave me the freedom to experiment with stories, mixed media, and reporting in ways I never dreamed of. I could present researched articles based on historical or current events, I could write articles based on personal experiences, or I could simply indulge my passion for story telling. Whatever I wanted to write, I could.
This new medium gave me a freedom not available just a few years before. I could branch out in any direction I wanted. My own personal writing voice evolved and grew stronger; my understanding of how to write for a specific type of audience expanded; and my knowledge about storytelling grew.
The book industry had also evolved. While traditional publishers still existed, they were struggling. Technology had moved to a level that had at one time, seemed to be science fiction. Now electronic books were not only possible, they were gaining in popularity. This made it easier for outsiders (like me) to gain a foothold in the book industry. The stigma of being an independent author was being wiped out by this new booming industry. I had dipped my toes into the waters of independent publishing with a few books combining my poetry and photographs, and while they weren’t mega-sellers, I was still excited to be a part of this new world.
Somewhere along the path of this journey, the story I was trying to tell also evolved. It was no longer just a mash up of past life memories combined with my mediocre story telling talents. Instead, it had become a philosophical statement. It had become a way for me to express my views on how the world worked; it was a way to voice my perceptions and my beliefs. But I needed to do it in a way that entertained and intrigued my readers (much the same way as Mr. Matheson had done in his books).
As I child I was a voracious reader, and I realized just how much of my world view was forged by the authors I read. People like Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Andre Norton; also Mary Norton, Lewis Carroll, and L. Frank Baum. These had been just some of my companions as a child, thrilling me, entertaining me, but at the same time shaping me, firing my imagination, and allowing me to go through life always asking “what if.”
In my mind there was so much more to life than our basic senses showed us. I just wanted a chance to say “what if” to all those possible readers out there. If I could create a world that was real enough, with characters that they could relate to, then the readers might just be willing to say, why not. Why can’t I do that? Maybe that is possible.
With this goal driving me, I dove into my notes and started out again. This time as the story grew and flowed from my core and into the computer, I realized that the time had come. Something in my subconscious said that this was the right time to actually finish it up and get it out there.
The confluence of the planets, the merging of the energies, the life lessons I had stumbled through and managed to complete were all pointing in one direction. It was now time to put myself out there and actually complete the books (notice the plural—the one book had grown to at least three books; the single story idea had grown into a trilogy).
This time my quest was clear. I took all my emotional attachments to the material and let it go so that I would be free to rework it, reframe it, and make it flow the way it needed to. I became committed to my characters, and they wasted little time showing me how to bring them to life.
As the characters now evolved, their names changed (Katyra became Neerah and Jarrod became Joelnar). Ethereals (golden beings of light) got written in and stayed. (In their own way, they became the elves that normally populate fantasies…all wise and all knowing. However, they never leave their reality to participate in the quest—and, oh yes, the quest was reinstated). Several personalities shifted dramatically, but the one thing that never changed was the original lesson that had always been embedded in the story…tolerance.
Here’s the synopsis, which has also grown from that simple sentence stated at the start of these evolution articles, to a more comprehensive summary of my novel:
Interested in finding out more about my journey, and my book? I hope so…because Joelnar, Neerah, all their friends, and I are just waiting to tell you our stories.