This trilogy has been fraught with examples of the point I try to make when asked about my writing. I am the one telling the story, but my control over the whole thing ends with my wording of it. It’s not me who decides who lives or dies, or how they go about the living or the dying. I’m just here to tell the story, as best as I can, as true to the way I see it. From my perspective, all this stuff actually happened to actual people, and somehow I have a porthole to that dimension in my mind. Safe on the other side of dragon-proof glass, I can watch the story play out and do my best to record what I see. I’m like an historian with a crystal ball and no political pressure or social programming. (Give me a moment while I chuckle darkly for the thousandth time about how I supposedly write fiction and the historian supposedly records facts.)
Sometimes I wish things would go a different way for folks. In life, in movies or television series, in all the stories told and untold, there are some tales that lose my interest or never grab it to begin with. Those that do play a special role in my life, and hold a sacred place in my heart (this is all a sweet way of saying that I am a fish full of hooks that has trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy).
Writing Book I was great; every trauma fairly quickly produced some positive consequence that helped soften the initial shocking blow in the following pages. I made myself feel squeamish for the first time as I wrote some of the scenes, and it dawned on me as I told the story that the damned tale was keeping secrets from me.
This became more evident as I wrote Book II. As things got darker and the body count meter turned into a spinning blur, I wondered how I hadn’t foreseen this. All the characters I had fallen for in one way or another in the first book were dead or in a place that made death seem either inevitable or preferable or both. I looked back over my process in choosing to begin this avenue of my writing with this story, and I had some strangely familiar realizations.
Whether you are a lady or a guy, if you have had any experience in dating or relationships, you can surely relate. Do you remember the first time you realized that someone was lying to you just so they could be with you? Maybe it was a small deception, perhaps even just minor evasion, or possibly it was an elaborate web of outright lies. Maybe you’ve seen a wide range of examples, as many of us have. You might have even stepped up to the next shocking level of realization and found yourself guilty in some way or another, or fallen into the bitter trap of thinking that everyone is that way to some degree. Wherever you are with it, surely you can remember that initial flash of feeling that came with the realization that you had been betrayed.
The simple fact of the matter is that that moment is not always where the story ends. Am I right? Sometimes the moment of reveal comes when the hooks are too deep, and the reveal is just not violent enough to pull them free. At that point, the story does one of three things. Most stories get boring and formulaic here, and lose my interest in both fiction and Earth-fantasy form. The rest go one of two ways.
A lot of stories get dark here. For some people, dark is synonymous with interesting. It’s not for me. The darkness is an aspect of the light for me, the light an aspect of the dark. Asking one to exist without the other is asking the world to go back to being flat, and my philosophical foundation would be shaky indeed if I did. However, there has to be a point in exploring the darkness for me. I tend to be more interested in a story that takes the other path after the great reveal, living or reading a tale where every aspect of life changes for the better with each new level of understanding. As I reviewed the way this story had courted me in the beginning, I realized that calling it deceptive was a bit harsh.
I got to see several scenes, vividly, whenever this was the porthole that grabbed my attention. The final few moments of each book were shown, as were many other glorious clips, and the basic premise was laid out pretty clearly. In defense of the story’s perspective, it couldn’t exactly tell me the whole story until I wrote it . . . at the risk of sounding like a guy defending his girl’s decision to not reveal her sweet tooth for heroin until after the wedding.
In defense of my perspective, writing these books made my role as a writer clear as never before. Like life, my own stories will surprise me in ways that I never anticipated. These surprises will not always be pleasant or pretty, but they will always be a springboard to something better. Like life, the ability to extract the something better from every surprise commands the full attention of the one doing the living. That being said, some chapters are just hard to write.
You know, like life.
Thanks for reading!
Walking Between Worlds; Book III: Fall of the Walker King will be available in ebook and paperback formats on December 1st.
Walking Between Worlds on Amazon
Need to start at the beginning? Read Chapter One here.
Continue reading “Chapter Four: So . . . They’re Back?”