Changeling should be off to lines soon. I had been 3/4 of the way through book two of my selkie series when I had to put it on hold to get Changeling done.
It was really interesting to see the difference. I stopped writing between 2009 and 2012 because I didn’t have anything left to say. When I started up again, I wanted to talk about love.
Not schmoopy romance lovey-dovey kind of love, though I write what could be called romance, I guess, but the many different facets of love that can exist. I’ve been motivated in my life by pain, guilt, anger, fear and frustration, but not even in combination did any of them come close to how it feels to be motivated by love.
In the three series I’ve worked on since discovering this is what I want to talk about, I have been exploring the different kinds of love that drive people to do things that no negative emotion could. Changeling is a love story. Not even as much as it is between lovers but also what it means to love platonically. Matt and Sam, as brothers, love each other so much more than Matt could possibly be in love with Kevin. If love is sacrifice, Matt sacrifices one for the other, and it isn’t even a difficult choice for him. Living with the consequences is hard, but the choice wasn’t even a choice for either of them.
My little selkie Finn had to come to the realization that if everything had gone perfectly and he would have been able to nail down his lover at eighteen when he they finally, legally could be in love with each other. During the time the book is set, Romeo and Juliet laws that protect under age lovers within a certain span of ages did not apply to same-sex couples, not even in Canada. But if they had been together, it would have been an abject failure. Finn needed his lover to be his everything, and although he didn’t need to suffer so horribly in the decade that separated the boys, he *had* to mature for it to work.
And lastly, in my epic fantasy Drunks, Fools and Kings, the book explores what people would do for love at different levels. The love for a person from his lover, his siblings, his friends, even the people who owe him his life is explored. The whole story explores when you should let the person you love go, and why.
I’m really excited about all three stories. I think they’re all going to be successful in their own way, but through writing them all, I discovered a fourth pool that we, if writers were salmon, have to jump through.
The first pool you have to swim uphill to get to is just finishing a book, start to finish. That eliminates a lot of people who want to be writers, but just can’t finish anything.
The second pool you have to fight to is how to get what’s in your head to match what’ on the page. That could take a lifetime to master, and eliminates another whole chunk of people.
The next pool is even harder to get to. It’s the pool you jump into when you realize *gasp* that even perfectly rendered on the page, every scene in the book has to be just the good bits. Rene critiqued one of my books years ago, and said that the good bits were really good, but there were a lot of scenes within in that just seemed to be moving the chess pieces into place where they needed to be in order to have the next good bit. The whole book has to be all good bits. And not everything the author sits down and writes has to be the good bits, but that’s when edits and rewrites comes in and cuts out all the bad bits.
This pool is the pool a lot of people get stuck in, especially if they are a “I write every day!” type people. If you have nothing to say, and you don’t go back and brutally prune back everything that isn’t a good bit, people end up with very long books without a lot of good bits. Good bits take time to build.
And the final pool, once all your story is nothing but the good bits, you still need to have something to say about something that uses all the good bits to say. By the time you get there, and I’m not saying I’m there yet, most writers have been eaten by bears, to extend the metaphor past its breaking point.