Pushing the Envelope…perhaps too far…

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After my blog post last night about what’s been going on in my life, I felt a weight had been lifted and was able to actually meet my word goal for the day. I’m up to 36,000 words now and have much more written on paper that I need to work into the story and transpose into my novel. My story is more complete now and has a beginning and end. I’m working on some of the middle parts and basically building on the existing plot and themes of the novel. As I work on the themes, I find that it’s coming out a lot more overtly religious than I originally intended.

I’ve purposely written in archetypes from various different religions. This was originally intended to be a whisper within the novel and I never meant for the religious overtones to intertwine too much with the actual story. As it turns out, Characters have their own mind and, lately, they seem to want me to make them take part in religious debate. I’m stuck somewhere between allowing the idea to manifest and separating myself from it completely.

I guess some of the themes already push the envelope enough. My character uses magick and talks about how she feels condemned for it…she talks about seeing the divine in nature a lot…yet, she attends traditional church services. Furthermore, I’ve built a character completely around the Druid archetypes and allowed her to discover that her mother was a witch…she’s looking into the occult with trepidation because she’s been warned about the dangers within her entire life…and because using her powers has, in fact, caused problems in her life already…she moves through the wheel of the year, denoting the changes in the energy around her (although this is never overtly revealed, just hinted at with strategic placement of dates throughout).

Now, my Druid archetype is pulling me toward a discussion about religion with her boyfriend in which he explains how more mainstream religions and obscure ones are very similar. It’s a discussion which (on a personal level), I think needs to occur; both in my novel and in society as a whole. The segmentation between different faith paths is unnatural and not conducive to tolerance by anybody’s terms.

However, I do not want my novel to be dismissed by publishers and agents because it pushes the envelope too far. It’s not about the money or my career but because I think there is a good message behind the story. The question is, is the YA Fiction or Contemporary Fiction world ready for a novel with these themes? How far is too far?

Learning about people through Tragedy

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I’m going a bit off topic tonight. I’m in the middle of one of those metamorphosis phases in a person’s life. Some events just rush into our lives and turn us upside down. Nano was the beginning of this for me. Beginning my first novel this way; just conceptualizing it and diving in…studying the writing process and coming close to the end with the realization that I have something really great on my hands have given me the strength to say to myself, “I can write professionally!” I know that my novel will be a thin shadow of itself by the time I actually complete Nano and will need moths of rework before I begin reaching out to literary agents and publishers. It’s the momentous first steps which are the most life altering, though.

My heart is heavy and I have had a hard time writing for a couple of days now. Recent personal events have compounded the experience of writing my first novel in profound ways. I’ve struggled with my poverty and the raising of my young children while writing the entire time. As fate will have it, no life altering experience comes easy and two days ago, I found out that my cousin’s little girl passed away after a 6 month battle with cancer. 

My cousin and I were not close. We grew up 1,000 miles apart and only interacted during summer vacations and some holidays. Still, there is love there and my heart is heavy with compassion for them. I find my thoughts wandering toward my cousin, her parents and the larger branches of their community that has been impacted by this tragedy. 

For days, I haven’t been able to wrap my brain around the reasons why such a beautiful, strong little girl would be taken from this world before she ever got the chance to make an impact on it. Then, it dawned on me that the reason I don’t see the logic in it is because I’m looking at it all wrong. As I look through pictures of her on the Facebook page that was set up for her while she was going through treatment, I realize that she has made a more profound and important impact on the world than most people with 10x the life on earth. 

Throughout everything, she was strong and steady. She looked this horrible disease in the face with a smile and took all of it with more faith than most of us show in much better circumstances. This legacy will live on forever and who knows the power it will hold. Although she is gone, she has left something behind so inspiring and beautiful that I can only imagine the great ways it will manifest itself. 

It has already manifested itself in her mother, who has taken everything with the same faith and grace that her daughter showed. Even now, through her grief, she is able to acknowledge that there is a higher purpose for this happening. I’m sure there is no way for me to EVER understand the weight that she has on her right now and I commend her for her faith and strength. She will forever be a living example of her daughter’s legend and testimony to the world. 

With that said, I must digress a bit. For every beautiful thing in this world, there is an equally dark and twisted realization. When something like this happens, it becomes easy to see the true nature of people. For my cousin and her daughter, their light shines through. For others directly and distantly around them, however, shadows are cast on the darkest parts of their souls. 

I’m going to speak in more generalities from here on out, because it’s the proper thing to do. 

I will never understand how some people (and our society in general) have come to a point where compassion is so lacking. Perhaps because I am an empath, I feel things in deep and intense waves. I do not have to have a strong connection with somebody (or even like them, for that matter) to feel deeply when something goes really wrong for them (or right, conversely). Yet, it is so easy to use a person’s faults against them to shield ourselves from actually giving a crap when things happen to these people. 

It’s really a societal problem. When a bomb is dropped in a foreign country, why do we rejoice? Are the soldiers fighting against our own fathers and sons just the same? We feel no compassion toward these people because they’re not our own. When will the world wake up and realize that we are all connected? Pain in one is a collective pain and should be treated with dignity and honor. 

I’m not trying to propagate some liberal, hippy agenda here. (To me), it’s common sense, really but our values have carried us so far from it that it seems radical. It may be radical to feel the need to loose a few dollars to be there and try to comfort the family during this time…so be it! You want to judge me and look down on me for this? So be it! You want to use this moment as opportunistic to insert your power over those around you…so be it! 

Looking at it on a larger scale and considering the collective uncounciousness, you are part of the problem. People like my cousin and her daughter are the solution…if you’re too unwise or close minded to see this, I truly feel for you! 

“Darkness Within” update!

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https://leanpub.com/darknesswithin

I have been publishing chapters of my book on Wattpad, for review. I got decent feedback from a few users and my novel got 200 hits. I’m happy with my experience on Wattpad and I think it’s an invaluable experience for writers to be able to share their work for feedback, as they write it. However, as I browse the website, I become more skeptical about its ability to help me finish, and publish, my novel.

It’s obvious that if I take my novel seriously, I can’t publish the entire thing for free so Wattpad is a temporary home for “Darkness Within”. I may publish one more chapter but after that I will be finished.

Enter LeanPub…LeanPub is a lot like Wattpad. A writer can build an army of followers and post portions of their books for review. The major differences between Wattpad and LeanPub are as follows:

  • LeanPub allows the user to easily convert files to PDF, EPUB and MOBI formats for free…Wattpad offers no conversion
  • LeanPub allows readers to sign up for updates on unpublished works and even allows them to add a suggested price!!!!
  • LeanPub does not allow readers to comment directly on the book’s profile page…Wattpad does
  • LeanPub allows writers to set prices and publish works in progress. The reader is given a portion of the book and then promised all future updates on it as well…Wattpad is an open source.

Both websites are valuable to the writer. This will be my first time being published and I cannot equate how important it is for me to get my work out there, in the hands of readers. I see both websites as possibilities in this journey. Wattpad will help me build a group of loyal readers and pinpoint weaknesses in my work, while LeanPub will help me handle “the business end” of publishing and as I update my novel, I am given working copies of it in all formats needed for publishing.

I know this is a messy and rushed review…I have 2,000 words to write today so I’m trying to make it quick. To all my fellow writers, check out these websites and decide for yourselves. If you know of any other writer’s resources, I would be pleased if you would share them.

To my potential readers: check out my story. I have posted several links on this blog to Wattpad and above is a link to LeanPub. It’s not published on there yet but you can let me know what you would pay for it and subscribe to email updates. Also, if you’re a serious reader, there are a lot of stories on Wattpad that you can read for free and might enjoy!