I don’t really give thought to the bigger picture in my stories. When I write, I often will just write the story, and live within it. Live inside of the thoughts of the characters, their hopes and dreams, and somehow hope that I get enough of that down on the page that it conveys to you – a total stranger to them – who they are. What they want in life, what they’re thinking about, the personality of the character.
It’s not until after I’ve written the stories I will start to consider more. Sometimes I have to actually finish the story for that to happen. Sometimes – like right now – I hear/see/read/think something and that triggers the thoughts as I’m in the middle of the write.
There is always a deeper meaning in stories too. A story that if you read it from the surface is overall entertaining, sure. Or like I prefer to do in my own work, a deeper tale. There’s more there to discover. It’s not just about Janie buying a new sweater, though that could be it. It could then be why Janie is. Why that is so important, and that day of all days.
Let me think of an example on the fly, not related to my work. We will carry on with Janie.
On the surface we may read that Janie is buying herself a sweater in the story. At the start, she’s at the shop, looking at sweaters beneath a sky that soon will have a full moon show. She passes by the blue sweater, the pink, the red, then sees the brown. Plain to anyone else so as to go unnoticed, but not by her no. Janie’s heart skips a beat, and she buys it.
It isn’t until we read further into the story and see these small notes here and there as to why a brown sweater would cause her to have her heart skip a beat. So, we keep reading, only to find out that she wasn’t just in any ol’ shop either. She was in a thrift shop. Maybe a secondhand store that sold things people made at home or had dropped off to sell to earn a few dollars.
So that by the end of the story we discover that the sweater she bought was in fact, a sweater her mother had knit once upon a time long long ago, and it meant a lot. Because the mother passed away from cancer, or a car crash, and that was the sweater she had as a teen, that she made herself. OR it was a sweater her mother – Janie’s grandmother – knitted for Janie’s mother when pregnant with Janie.
The deeper tale if we dive a bit more is a story of deep love and connection. A daughter without a mother or grandmother if that may be the case, who wants to feel connected to her family and the females in her world. Maybe they were witches (we’ll go there because hi October!) and the sweater even had magical powers, which is why buying it beneath the full moon was the most important day she could’ve. Where when she wore it, she could see them again, experience their life. Go back to when they lived. Something.
Far deeper can be a story of a girl lost who seeks meaning in life, and being found by something far more powerful – love. So she spent her entire life searching for that sweater, and through finding it, she has found friends, and people who helped her along the way. A journey of discovery of self.
That is often a deeper level in my work that I love to explore.
I don’t want to know about people buying sweaters and giggling at the cutest latest fashion. I want to know why that sweater was so important to them, and that there was a reason for it to be so.
I usually don’t see all the levels and layers, until I’m really getting into the heart of my writing. Some only after I’ve finishing writing the story.
But I found myself listening to my favorite podcast via the Podcast Addict (love it) app the other day. I am listening to CraftLit, the book North and South. The host, Heather Ordover, was discussing someone’s email (email or call in, can’t remember which now) about how sad the book was. To me, it’s not really, but different viewpoints. For me, I live a life similar where I am tending family and such all the time so maybe it’s just normal for me to listen to a lot of that, and I don’t see it as sad. When I think about it though, I can see where they’re coming from. Lot of death and exhaustion going on.
In any case, Heather was discussing how it was about a time in the world when it was pretty sad overall so that’s how the book may come across that too. They had the wars going on, and she was relating that time period to that year (that Heather was sharing the work) which was about 2007 or so? I’m probably way off. But it’s after 9/11 and she was comparing the work to those times. Entering war with another country, and how it related to both the book timeline as much as the years they (Heather and the listeners of when the book was discussed) were living in so it could be heavy/sad for some. Because so much of it was happening even in their timeline so it hit close to home so to speak.
Which lead me to thinking about the Sorceress world. I find it very interesting to consider the fact that as I am listening to it. As I am writing about a world very much in chaos as well. As Heather is discussing those years of when they were listening to the book too – it all relates so well.
We all know the world moves in cycles. Anyone who has been around and observant enough, will see it. Every ten years we get the major push of climate and we’re dying, it’s being destroyed, and all of that. They do it, I imagine, so they can push a new agenda. Whether or not it benefits us in the long run can be anyone’s guess. My generation was the generation of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The 3 Rs. We don’t see that discussed and pushed as it was before. So that this generation thinks my generation caused this issue. And the ones before and the cycle continues.
Meanwhile really, it’s about the people in charge wanting to be able to push through certain policies (their effects again, anyone’s guess) so they use each generation to push it. They get their votes, their help, and the cycle continues. Hundreds of years from now (if we’re still about) it will be the same. They will have a new “fix the planet!” push, and then people screaming that the previous generations were the cause, were the issues, and it goes on.
Life is a continuous cycle of change. Chaos, eruptions, calming, peace, buildup of boredom, cause problems, chaos, eruptions, calming, peace, and on we go as a species. We see it in the animal kingdom and nature. We are just a bigger animal. It’s always the same. You push out and maybe we’re the ants of the universe and something out there exists to look down upon us and watch us work out little ant hills, and carry bits here and there, mate, procreate, get destroyed, continue on.
Life finds a way.
But we also can connect across time and space from those very same things because life keeps going. What we learn from each cycle and carry forward may be the biggest takeaway from it all. If we have learned from them and use that knowledge to improve the next cycle we come to as a whole, and for our benefit.
Why am I going on these tangents? Well, normal for me. But also because when I listened to that podcast, and I thought about the book, it occurred to me I was writing that exact world. The world we live in now. Just in a different way. A different version.
Because the magical realm is falling apart. The magical realm has lost all hope at recovery and they’ve begun to effectively allow all the bad to take over. They’re tired of fighting, haven’t seen a reason to protect the realm, and the one who was meant to protect it will try, and is trying. But it’s pretty well behind the scenes. Nobody sees him doing it. Not the entire realm. There are plenty of spaces like we would have, that maybe don’t keep up with what is going on in the world, is disconnected, doesn’t believe in anything anymore. It goes on.
The point being that as far as they’re concerned the prince is evil. They would have spread rumors about now that are clear – he broke laws that his father put in place. He crossed lines. He will cross lines as the story unfolds. But I don’t think now that it’s just about him. I think that he had come to understand (and will) that he has to help Mia learn to help her, to help the realm, to help himself save the realm. The only real way for her to understand who she is, and come to terms with that, is by firsthand learning. She must have hands on learning, but it’s so the realm becomes important to her. To protect. So she will grow to love it. Even if it means protecting it from him, or fighting for it by his side, when she doesn’t know she is fighting by his side for it. She will think it’s her against him, when all along it’s the two of them in their own way protecting the realm, and help it to grow, but in a new way.
Maybe Riagan doesn’t even know he’s doing it yet, or will. Maybe he doesn’t realize he is saving it with her. Still so many unanswered questions, even for me as the author, and having this be a rewrite. I simply don’t have all the answers. Well, even for life. I can give advice, thoughts, opinions, but I know nothing either Jon Snow.
I think Riagan has come to see the best way for Mia to become what she’s meant to be, and to grow, is for him to teach her. And all he knows how to do to make that happen? Is forcing it. FORCE her to face herself.
Just like life will always do for us. Life will force us to face the reality of who we are. No matter how much we hide, or try to run from what we’re meant for – life has plans for each one of us. If you’re lucky (unlucky? who knows) life will redirect you to the path. God, if you like. Universe, the term doesn’t matter. But if you try too hard to run from it, and too long?
Life . . . will force you to face yourself so you will become your best version.
We’re always growing. We’re always evolving. But I think it’s reached that point in the world where a major shift has to happen, and a lot of people are getting a rude awakening. The term “woke” has become perverted from its true meaning. Which is why they wanted to do that. To make us believe anything of that nature is wrong, or bad. I saw that beginning years ago. At the end of the day, it’s always going to be about coming back to self, love, and community.
Love, is at the heart of everything for everyone no matter how much they argue that, and/or can’t see it.
Love for their country, the world, their group, their family, their health, their material standing. Love.
But authentic, true, deep love? Is what it’s supposed to be about.
That’s where a lot of the deeper story belongs in this world. Riagan and Mia connected through some random event neither was prepared for. Currently I am working on Book Two. Thælora & The Old Mage.
Riagan and Mia have gone their separate ways. Like in North & South, Thornton and Margaret live their separate lives, but beneath it all we know that’s the heart of the story too. What’s growing between them. It’s a similar thing to what Riagan and Mia (may rename her Æva – you read and pronounce how you like) are facing. I don’t have to say that it’s what lay beneath everything in my worlds and story. I’m not a “romance,” writer, but I am a deep passionate love connection writer. We all have to face life and not everyone has a story of boy meets girl, they get married, and live happily ever after.
Sometimes boy goes to war and must battle to get back home. Sometimes girl is forced into another marriage before husband dies and she reclaims the one she always wanted. Sometimes one just can’t be with the other at the time because life doesn’t always allow us to go straight lines. Sometimes we must veer off course, learn some good hard lessons, and then eventually that path turns back to the other. Sometimes we do it together but from long distances. Sometimes we must do it apart. Sometimes we do it together.
Each story is different. Realistic love and connections often mean that sometimes life gets in the way. I think it could be – are you ready for this? Are you ready for this great love? Let us see. Because even with Riagan and Mia, I see them together, though they aren’t. They both feel that depth. They have both been wronged for so long that they do have stuff to work through. Together, and apart, and between them, and alone. It’s not a one and done because their love will change things. Their lives will. They will.
The realm needs them to be prepared.
That love isn’t going to be some shallow fading sweetness. There is going to be fire and passion, depth, and enduring deep love. There is going to be friendship and compassion, and sacrifice, and understanding of the other in a way only that other one could ever do. Because they feel that other inside of them. They know them.
They see one another.
In a way that only that other can.
I think those are often the most powerful connections too because if they had just jumped right in, they may have inadvertently destroyed that connection. Permanently, or it may have taken longer to come together in the end. But the ones worth it? The depth of love I sense growing between them, despite them not being together? Is one that will completely alter the reality of the entire realm, themselves, and all around them or whoever comes across them. It’s their love that heals the realm. It’s them learning their lessons on their way to it. It’s them teaching one another that they are there, and they prove it again and again without words.
Because each time one steps forward, the other will probably shrink back for a time. Then that one will be ready to step forward, and that power of the connection will frighten the other back a bit. They’re learning lessons each time. So each dips a toe in, and then waits for the other to, and on it goes.
Often the way the love works in my worlds, but I sense this one? Isn’t just going to be something that changes them. I think, even the author as she writes the story, and the reader as they read, will find themselves on their own journey of discovery.
This is a world I’m putting myself deeper into. I am learning and growing with them. I always do, but I sense this is going to be a bigger deal with this story.
Why I said right now it parallels life. We can all say we’re in a war. Good versus evil, as humanity begins to fall apart, and as a whole, we are shifting and changing, unaware of the people behind the scenes, who aren’t saying – I’m here and trying to help fix this! – and yet will be the biggest change. Often what we don’t see is the real story.
Secret deals never spoken of again behind closed doors. Handshakes and promises of deals to be done later on if one helps them with something now. Secret wishes spoken into the dark of night. Promises of help that end up coming when we least expected it because it wasn’t spoken of.
Little voices carrying across the aisle to that ear of the most important who could’ve heard it. Who could make a massive difference, and they choose to step up. A book grabbed and read and spoken of to another who then blows the person up and changes their entire life. So they never worry about paying the bills again. A quietly dropped off bag of groceries on the doorstep when a family had no food.
It’s not the big loud stories we need to heed.
It’s the deeper and quieter ones we need to slow down to see that can change everything, at any time.
And we need to discover more of those.
More to come.
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