Throwing Pennies

So I have obviously been self publishing my books, which I felt very good about and which was the right decision at the time. But something has been nagging me, and I can’t ignore it anymore. My dream – the Book Dream – was never to have my books on Kindle. Don’t get me wrong, I love Amazon and I love that they are so good to indie authors. I love having control over my work and owning all the rights.

But ultimately, what I really want most is to have my books on bookshelves in bookstores. I don’t care about making money, I don’t care about winning awards. I just want my characters to be known and loved by people other than myself…to know that they won’t die with me and that their stories and struggles and victories will survive. And not only survive, but thrive, and even inspire those who discover them to follow their own dreams and find the thing that makes them feel free.

That’s what I want. And so, although I thought the journey was nearly ending, I’m packing my writing/editing rucksack and getting back on the road to Shard. I know it will take work, I know that traditional publishing can be a whole other monster, but that’s what I want, so that’s where I’m going. And I’ll toss some pennies into wishing wells along the way.

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Writing, Dreams, and the True Meaning of Fantasy

not my image
not my image

I recently decided that I need to get off my butt and finish Shard. If you don’t know what Shard is and you’re new to the blog, I forgive you. Otherwise…

I’m just joking 🙂 In a nutshell, it’s the first book I ever wrote (I was 12 and I wrote it in a month and it was really, really bad). However, as my writing improved with practice and as my ideas for the story grew, it morphed into a trilogy and then a whole series came out of the woodwork to surround it. Don’t get me wrong, I write other things too, but this one is my baby. It’s the one I care the most about. It’s the one I never get bored with, never abandon, never get sick of, never shove into the back of my mind. Ten years later, I know I have to finish it and publish it, and then finish and publish the other books in the series. At the moment it goes like this:

1. <book of history I have yet to write>
2. The Hilt and the Blade
3-5. The Shard Trilogy
6. Wind in the Blood
7. The Gypsy and the Knight
8-9. <books I have yet to write>
10. Prin Ten Arken: Before the Beginning

At least, this is the tentative list. However, because these are so close to my heart and soul and, you know, bone marrow, I’ve never really had other people read them. I mean, I had three friends and my dad read one of them a few years ago, and then I proceeded to scoff at all of their comments and decided that I knew better. That’s when I was younger and foolisher, though, so now that another good friend of mine has agreed to give me some critique, I’m ready to take it like a woman.

And here’s the thing. I don’t want to write “Christian” fantasy. And I don’t feel guilty about that. To me, fantasy = a physical portrayal of a very real mental, emotional, and spiritual battle. Every human struggle is an epic battle. Every mental, emotional, and spiritual victory is an epic victory. I can’t literally chop off depression’s head with a sword, but I can write about it in a way that anyone can relate to it and feel victory over something, and feel inspired to actually have victory over things they struggle with. Isn’t that what Lord of the Rings makes you feel? You come out of that book/movie feeling like you can conquer everything, including your own weakness, because, as Sam says, “it’s worth fighting for.”

That’s what I want to do. I want people to come away from reading my books feeling victorious. Thinking, “I can do this. I can beat this. I am stronger than this. I am chosen to do this because I am the only one who can fight my own battles inside myself. There is a greater good force with power over this thing.” {hint: it’s God, but if you don’t believe in Him, give it time}

That’s proper fantasy to me. That’s epic, beautiful, profound, pure, lovely, mouth watering fantasy. And that’s what I want to write. I’m not trying to be Tolkien. I’m trying to be the best fantasy writer that I have the capacity to be. I have a vision of what I’m working towards, and I know I’ll get there.