Letting Things Grow

“I was tending a garden – an immense garden. And it wasn’t for food or flowers – it was just about the health of the garden. I kept working and working to control it and contain it, and make it healthier… but the garden seemed to fight me at every turn. After what seemed like days of work I finally gave up in frustration – and as I stood there, doing nothing, the garden flourished before my eyes – growing and spreading in every direction. 

Because (I realized), the system that the plants were based on was not about me shaping and controlling. The natural system of plants is healthier when they are out of control – when they are free to spread, and intermingle, and cross pollinate, and mutate. 

Now, from a human point of view, that may not provide what I want. I get smaller fruit, and smaller flowers, and untidiness. But from the view of the plants, they grow stronger and much more resilient and resistant.”

This is the thesis statement of Obduction, an adventure/puzzle/exploration video game made by Cyan Worlds. [Spoilers for the ending.] In this story, you and other humans have been abducted to a bountiful alien place with no idea why. Cecil, one of the abductees, enlists your help to find a way back home. As you wander and uncover the backstory you begin to learn the intention behind these abductions; you were not kidnapped, you were saved. These characters were plucked from their habitats to preserve them from calamity. 

It’s a hard thing to realize for Cecil who has spent years trying to build a way back home to his family. Eventually you are given a glimpse of Earth and you see that your planet has been destroyed. You don’t know if it was a nuclear disaster, global warming, or something else, but you do know that there is no going home. 

The only thing to do in the wake of this discovery is to allow this new world to take the characters somewhere unknown. Rather than fighting the progress of nature, you let it happen and everything flourishes. The quote I began with is by Farley, another abductee who understands the purpose behind their new home before anyone else. She calls it un-gardening, the idea that maybe they have to let this change happen, that even if it’s different and scary, maybe it can be good, too. 

Now how does this apply to writing? Well, characters and plot need space, too. And when they’re given space to do what they will, the story gets stronger. I have a specific idea of what’s going to happen and how the characters are going to react to it, but occasionally I’m faced with the fact that no, Ana’s not going to respond like that. She’s going to respond like this, which changes the rest of the book. And I have to decide if I’m going to force a character to do something against their personality just to preserve my plans, or if I’m going to see where this new idea takes me. Every time, going for the genuine reaction is better. 

Something I’ve had to learn with people is that I can’t change how they feel even if it makes me uncomfortable. If someone is sad, I can’t make them happy. If they’re hurt by something I’ve done, I can’t make them not hurt. But I can acknowledge their feelings, I can validate them, and I can give them support. That’s a very real-world analogy for letting my characters respond to the story, but it holds up. I have to let my characters feel how they feel, not how I want them to feel. I have to let their choices matter and affect the world around them, otherwise why do I even have characters at all? 

This past week I started GMing a group of my friends in a Star Wars tabletop RPG. Having never been a Game Master before, I used the pre-written adventure that came in the rulebook and narrated the world and events as my friends narrated their reactions to these events. There was one crucial point where, according to the book, my party of adventurers should leave the cantina to tail a spy. This would lead them to a safehouse with some bad guys there would be a fight and it would further the plot. Instead, two of the players stayed at the cantina while the other two followed the spy. 

“This is fine”, I thought. The book provided an alternative for if the players stayed at the cantina, but not for if they split the party. I could use the alternative and tweak it a little. I spend a few minutes desperately hoping that my two players don’t start a fight on their own, and my hopes are answered/defeated when they split up again. One follows the spy and the other follows the gang of bad guys who were going to the cantina to confront the rest of the party. That means I have another thing to worry about, since the only player with decent combat skills is on the far side of town while the three low-strength players are about to get caught in a firefight. But my players had made their decisions and I was going to let them do that, even if it made things more complicated for me. 

(“Should I give up tailing the spy?” the player asks, noticing that I’m trying to direct everyone back to the cantina. I’m half concerned and half looking forward to the entertaining disaster, and I give her a toothy grin. “Do whatever your character would do!”)

I should have had more faith. The fight ended up better than I could have expected, with one player remembering that they could communicate with comlinks and calling the loner back, and another using the stun setting on her blaster to take care of half the bad guys. The loner showed up and took out the biggest bad guy in one hit with a nice roll of the dice, and they had victory. 

That wasn’t the only time in the three-hour game that they surprised me by going off the preordained path. A NPC (non-player character) was supposed to do nothing but dole out some relevant information; they bought her a drink and made friends with her. I’ll make sure their personal interaction with the NPC pays off later. But when I was reading through the adventure, I didn’t give that NPC a second thought after they had declared the things the players needed to know. The players saw a new potential friend and acted accordingly. Corralling the party to find the right plot threads was sometimes tricky, but they had the most fun when I gave them some space to breathe and be creative. It created some challenges for me as I made up dialogue and personality on the spot for the NPC and altered the bad guys’ strategy to force a conflict that needed to happen, but the story was richer for it. The players’ actions were affecting the world around them, their choices mattered in the grand scheme of things. It was dynamic, exciting. 

It’s interesting to watch four of my best friends faced with a situation in an RPG and see each of them react uniquely. One of them held back, observing everything and saying little, cautious and gathering information before she acted on anything, even just playing the game. Another was fully committed to her character in body and voice, both hilarious and a little touching as a droid who might want a bionic heart but would never admit it. Yet another friend was chatting up everyone she could, bringing (dragging) the other players together and making connections, while another was watching the action, picking up on the plot threads even as he was enjoying everyone else’s antics. Even though they were playing characters, it was very true to who each of my friends is. I’d like to include such a diverse array of personalities in my stories. 

I have a hard time thinking outside the box, so it’s a challenge for me to get into every one of my characters’ heads and figure out how they’ll react to the scene. I love stories that are really just character studies, I love deeply personal blog posts, I love all of those personality-typing tests, anything that will help me understand how other people think and look at the world. It’s useful for writing, but I also just like understanding people, knowing why they do what they do, even if it’s not what I would do. 

Appreciating, understanding, and celebrating differences are necessary if I want to have characters that are fully-formed. If every one of my characters thought and acted like me, it would be a very boring book, even to me. Some of the most dynamic ideas in my book were given to me by other people, things I never would have come up with on my own. My husband is an idea machine (and will heartily admit that he doesn’t sift good idea from bad, he just lets them all pour out) and will give me five alternates for every thought I put on the page. Sometimes it’s hard to stop looking at what I want to do and consider that another choice might genuinely be better, even if it means more work for me. If I change things I have to re-develop this scene or this character or this book, and that takes time. But if I take a step back, remove myself from the equation and give the story room to grow as it will, it starts to spread into what it should be. Just like life, sometimes I have to let go of what I think it should be and just let it be what it is. 

What I’m Listening To:

The Last Of Us is a deeply compelling video game, and its soundtrack is mostly acoustic guitar with a lonely, Western feel to it. It’s one of the albums I listen to a lot while writing Lionheart.

Now That I’m 60k In…

Long time no write! I could say that I’ve been so caught up writing my second draft, but really I’ve just been doing things other than writing blog posts. Anyway, obligatory semi-apology out of the way…

I’ve been working on Draft 2 of Lionheart since January 1 of this year. My beginning goal was to write an average of 800 words every day. Some days I have time for 2000, some days I barely get out 400. Some weekends I don’t even make time for that much. But things even out and in January I averaged 852 words every day. That dropped to 582 in February (busy, busy month) and 459 in March (in my defense I was on a trip and didn’t write for 9 days). Somewhere in the middle of March, anticipating the next few months to be busy with wedding plans amping up and now apparently a pandemic, I adjusted my personal goal to average 400 words a day. Most days I can still write well over 800, but having that lower goal means on the days I don’t have a lot of time, I can still meet my goal. The lack of stress honestly frees me up to write more than I normally would, and if I average out the last half of March, I was writing 700 words a day. All of that work totals to almost 60,000 words in Draft 2. I’m just getting into act two, things are moving along and going pretty well. 

Even though I had a complete outline before I started, I’ve been making plenty of changes as I go along. My best ideas always seem to be the ones I come up with in the middle of a scene, demanding that I go change the rest of that story thread to account for this MUCH BETTER idea that came to me in the throws of writing. In Draft 2 I’ve got a whole new subplot that I’ve added since writing Draft 1, and it’s constantly evolving as I familiarize myself with the characters and what’s going on. Some characters also have new backstories, which means a lot of new ground to tread. Talya, a character originally envisioned as ‘Conrad’s ex who gets held for ransom by the bad guy’ has transformed into one of the most interesting characters on the page for me. I struggled with her character throughout Draft 1, knowing that she was important but taking the whole first draft to figure out why exactly. Now I know (thanks to some great input from my sister, who has much better ideas than I do) and her scenes are the ones I look forward to writing. 

I’ve also got Conrad, who has some new and interesting backstory. Originally he was little more than a rude mercenary with a dark past, but once my sister (again: better ideas than me) pointed out that he went through some serious trauma, and my fiance had a theory about his mysterious dad, Conrad got a whole lot of dimension. (Writing lesson: listen to your readers, sometimes they have more insight than you do. They can pick up on stuff you’ve unconsciously laid out when you’re too focused on what you think the plot should be.) His backstory didn’t change much in the broad strokes, but I’ve got a new perspective on it, and that allows me to write Conrad with clarity and specificity. Now his dislike of magic stems from his years of using it in violent service to the bad guy. For Conrad, magic is tied to the horrible things he did and experienced rather than it being a half-baked dislike that melts away in a couple of chapters. His trauma is a real problem for him throughout the story, creating obstacles that he has to work around or through. It adds much more meaning and character development to a moment in Book 2 where he offers to use magic to help someone. 

All of my characters have been growing in depth as I’ve understood them more. I’ve been writing Lionheart for three or four years now, but it’s just in the last two years that I’ve really figured them out. (Incidentally, it’s in the last two years that I’ve started figuring myself out… Totally not a correlation there.) It’s messy and complicated and difficult to try to introduce human development rather than fall back on easy, black-and-white character beats. But the resulting stories are much more organic and relatable. Ben has shifted from an annoying, judgy, moral trumpet to–well he’s still that, but now the narrative points out that he’s annoying rather than gormlessly agreeing with him, and the acknowledgement of his flaws allows him to grow. Ben is composed of some of my homeschooler experience; a dash of moral superiority and judgmentalness at people who live differently, some culture shock of going out from my sheltered home into the big world, and the wrestlings as I discovered that maybe some things I believed about this big worldly world were not true. Ben has to confront his own failings and perceptions very quickly. His beliefs are challenged, he sees that some of his morals are simply not sustainable once he’s outside of his sheltered home, and he has to decide what is and is not true and important. It’s a much more interesting story than ‘pure good boy is right about everything and tells everyone how right he is and never changes’. 

The third of my main characters, Ana, hasn’t changed much, but my deepened understanding and maturity has let me write her with more perspective. I can write her growing personal conflicts about her fate with more deftness, and rather than feeling just what she’s feeling, I understand why she’s feeling it. I’ve also added more complexity to her backstory and to her parents’ backstories, fleshing all of them out as characters. (Again, input from my sister completely changed Ana’s mother. Get some people to read your story, especially people with different life experiences than you.)

Another addition to Draft 2 are flashbacks. I didn’t want to pepper flashbacks constantly through the books, but there are some pivotal moments that happened in the past that I really wanted on page. So I’ve added three flashbacks per book, one in each act. These let me show the characters at very different points in their development, shed some light on why characters are the way they are, and hint at secrets that haven’t been revealed yet. In act 2 I have a flashback concerning a newly-introduced character. The flashback shows, without context, the aftermath of an event, the consequences of which are felt majorly through the other two books. They directly affect three characters in big ways. Some of the context for this event is revealed by the end of Book 1, with more information coming out over the next two books. Since one of Lionheart’s themes is how the past affects and changes us, flashbacks fit in very well. It’s been fun to write the characters at such different points in their life. (Fun I say; all three flashbacks for Book 1 are intensely emotional and difficult for the characters. My favorite to write.)

Aside from working on Lionheart, I’ve been learning how to felt, watching The Mentalist (everything I loved about Bones with nothing that I hated about Bones), playing through the Dragon Age games, developing another story on the side, and spending time with my fiance. My next step for Lionheart is some development of the next location my characters are going to, the ruins of a school of magic. I have to let go of my precious word count for a little bit so I can sit down and work out a map, what the school used to look like and what it looks like now, and all the beauties and dangers contained within. Fun stuff! 

I’m almost always listening to music while I write. I’ve got a playlist of over 80 pieces of music for Lionheart, and The Witcher soundtrack has fit into it perfectly. Hurdy gurdies are one of my favorite instruments with it’s unique, organ-esque sound, and it’s all over The Witcher. This particular piece always gets me really focused.

Three Writing Lessons from Star Wars: A New Hope

I’ve been watching through the Star Wars series recently, getting ready for the finale of the Skywalker saga. Star Wars has been a lifelong love for me, from my elitist childhood of ‘original trilogy only’, to unabashedly loving the prequel trilogy, and having a dodgy, critical relationship with the sequel trilogy. I’ve delved into the video games and books (mostly by Timothy Zahn; my elitism endures in some areas) and generally consumed as much of Star Wars lore as I could. It’s a story and a universe that has affected my writing and my sensibilities about storytelling. While some people always circle back to Lord of the Rings as the story that’s most important to them, I always come back to Star Wars. 

Star Wars isn’t without its flaws, but that’s not what I’m going to talk about. A New Hope remains fresh and interesting today because of a few things that it does very right, and that make it stand out from many modern films. These points are half about A New Hope, half about Star Wars trilogies in general. But I did try to focus them a little. 

The thing that strikes me when watching A New Hope is how little exposition happens. After the opening crawl no one’s trying to tell me the history of Tatooine, what the Empire does that makes it so evil, or even that much about Luke’s backstory. We’re shown that Tatooine is an isolated, backwater planet. Han’s brush with Jabba and Greedo show that crime is thriving and the Empire has little power in this part of the galaxy. Darth Vader’s killing of Rebel captives, and later the destruction of Alderaan, demonstrate all we need to know about the Empire; they value life so little that they’ll kill 1.5 billion people to squeeze information out of a nineteen-year-old. (I once read a truly boggling article that tried to say the Empire was totally excusable and wasn’t shown to be bad in A New Hope; I still hold a grudge.) Luke’s goal of becoming a pilot like his dad come up in a very normal dinner conversation with his aunt and uncle, and it’s easy to glean from the conversation that Luke’s felt stifled by Tatooine and the difficult farmer’s life for a while. His longing gaze at the setting suns and the galaxy outside of Tatooine shows us what he wants. 

All of it is storytelling that lacks self-consciousness. It trusts the audience to be smart enough to connect the dots. There are no clumsy ‘as you know’ conversations. The biggest chunk of exposition we get is from Obi-Wan, and by that time we’re almost halfway through the movie and dying for a bit of history. And it’s directly pertinent to the story. The Jedi, the Force, and Luke’s heritage, are all important to our understanding of what happens next. Some exposition is good, especially when we’re jumping into a new universe with new rules. But bogging the opening act down with a lot of explanations slows the momentum of the plot. I like that a lot of the Star Wars universe is presented to us with little description; we have no idea what womp rats are, what creature produces blue milk, or what the Kessel run is. But we can guess. It’s that restraint, that room for the audience to play, that captures my imagination so much. Maybe that’s because I’m a storyteller, and another person might appreciate a concrete explanation. But I never said I was going to be objective. 

The second thing that I enjoy so much about A New Hope is the characters and how immediately, obviously flawed they are. Luke is my favorite, so I’ve heard “But he’s so whiny!!!!!” a lot. My rebuttal is yes. Luke is whiny. It’s called starting your characters with flaws so they have something to grow towards. Luke is immature and reckless. Han is selfish and keeps people at arms’ length. Leia is angry and thorny. And through the course of A New Hope and the rest of the trilogy, they begin to grow from their experiences. There’s nothing wrong with having a character who is fundamentally Good, but they need to have some failings to make them human. 

Star Wars does a good job of having characters with traits and flaws that aren’t always likeable. Almost everyone finds Han to be cool from the very start, with his introduction where he shoots first after trying to smooth talk his way out of Greedo’s hands. But a lot of people find Luke and his relatable desire to leave his small planet and make something of himself to be obnoxious. Maybe it’s owed a little in part to Luke being so painfully earnest in everything he does, while Han struggles with emotional sincerity. Our culture loves to act like nothing matters, so Han and Leia, who are introduced as prickly, independent characters who need support from no one, are the more popular ones. But a lot of people miss that Han and Leia don’t stay those people. Their arcs center around learning to trust others, to stay and care when they’re afraid they might get hurt, and to risk themselves for what they love and believe in. And growth, especially upwards growth, is important for a story. A story that ends in hopeless, bitter tragedy, accomplishing nothing and destroying its characters, gives nothing to the world. A story that looks at its flawed characters and despairing world and says ‘maybe we can change this for the better’ gives some hope to the audience. Star Wars is primarily a story of redemption, so of course its characters have to have something to be redeemed from. Character development is important in every story, but is especially thematic in Star Wars. 

A little soapbox happened there. But the second point blends into the third, so we’ll keep going. Star Wars is a story about hope. And I know this is a very subjective point, but I like stories with happy endings. They don’t have to be 100% happy, and I love a good sad ending. Rogue One and Revenge of the Sith are very high on my list, even with their tragic ends. Gritty, dark, ‘realistic’ stories have been popular for a long time; Game of Thrones, Batman, modern Westerns, all of them hold up a nihilistic view of the world where nothing really matters and no one can ever be truly good. And yes, evil does exist. There are truly terrible people in the world, and awful things happen all the time. But there are also good people, and hope, no matter the odds. And I appreciate Star Wars’ commitment to good vs evil. Even when its theology of the Force wobbles on whether or not good and evil are opposed or sides of a coin, the story itself comes down squarely in the opinion that it is good vs evil. There is complexity–sometimes good people fall and sometimes bad people rise to redemption. But at the core, the story believes that what you do matters, and there is hope for a better world and a better self. 

This was a pretty self-indulgent post, but it’s my blog so I can post what I want. Star Wars, like I said, holds a special place in my heart. What are some stories that are especially close to you, and have any of them affected your perspective or your writing? 

Outlining, Structure, and Understanding

When I wake up in the morning, I make myself a mug of tea and get to writing. If it’s a day off, I write from about 7:30 to 9, make myself a second mug of tea, and keep going. I’m currently on mug number two, and just remembered at 10:24am that I should probably eat breakfast. On most days, I run out of creative energy and focus by noon. But if it’s a really good day, I’m still going strong enough to make mug number three. 

I’ve worked out my writing system over more than a few years of experience; three-act outlines, sticking to a routine, and letting the outlines and first draft be messy. This is what works for me, my personality, and my tendencies. A certain amount of structure to keep myself productive, and enough understanding and freedom to let my creativity breathe. 

I like three-act story structures because they make the most sense to my brain: beginning, middle, end. What the problem is, the road to fixing it, and fixing it. I outline my books, my plots, and my characters’ personal arcs in three acts. My stories are more character-driven than plot-driven, so having individual outlines of the changes my characters go through helps me keep track of what’s going on. 

Right now, I’m outlining the the last book in my Lionheart trilogy. This is the second draft, so I’m integrating all the changes that I made mid-book in the first draft and fixing the problems that I found after it was all done. I’m currently at the point where I feel like I’ve got six balls of yarn tangled up together, and I have to spread them all over the room in a huge mess before I can even begin to straighten things out. My outlines begin as very neat, one-sentence, three-act summaries for each of the plotlines, and then they explode into this yarny mess while I figure out how those neat little summaries look played out. And how they intersect with each other. And when they should be happening, and when I should cut to another plot, and if my characters are even doing what they should be doing in the first place. After I’ve spent a while sorting out the huge mess, the outline is perfect and lovely. (Until I start writing, then I find the other fifty problems that I missed.) 

In act two of book three I’ve got six plot threads, all of them intersecting and affecting the others. Things are heating up before the third act, the last major pieces of character development are getting into gear, and things are being set up for the final confrontation. Plot threads that were set up in book one are playing out and backstories are being faced and dealt with. It’s satisfying to finally be completing these plots, but there’s a lot to do. After doing all this untangling in act two, ideally act three will be smooth sailing. 

Messy outlining lets my brain and all of its ideas sprawl out on the page, and three-act plots are good containers to fit it into. But if I don’t actually write it, I’m not getting anything done. I learned a long time ago that if I write when I feel like it, I don’t finish anything. There’s something to be said for letting your creative juices flow when they will, but eventually you have to buckle down and get it done

This is the first year in a while that I haven’t done NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, where you try to write a 50,000 word book in the month of November) but I have been writing regularly, every morning (or at least 6/7 days a week) for the last year. NaNoWriMo always ends up burning me out with its 1500-words-a-day pace, so I’ve set up my own expectations. When I’m outlining, my minimum goal is an hour of writing a day, and on days when I’m not working, I usually get in at least two. When I’m actually writing I have a minimum goal of 800 words. That’s definitely undershooting, but I’ve learned that a high goal (like 1500) while attainable, stresses me out. I know I can reach 800 words every day, whether I feel like writing or not. And that lack of stress usually loosens me up enough to write 900 or 1200 or 3000. Learning to be a little easier on myself, understanding how I best function, has made me way more productive. 

The other way I keep myself productive is by letting my work be less than perfect. Anyone can probably relate to wanting their first try to be exactly what they imagined. But no matter how much time I spend perfecting, my first draft is always going to need to be better. There will always be plot ideas I come up with in the middle of the last book, friends are always going to give me an incredible idea for backstory that I have to rewrite the whole story to work in, the pacing is always going to be weird. It’s the first time I’m telling the story, it’s not going to be amazing. Understanding that has let me slog through finishing the first draft and the messy parts of the outline, knowing that it’s not perfect yet, but the present imperfection is necessary. I’m still learning how to tell this story, I’ll get there eventually. 

That’s a lesson that’s been pretty useful in life, too. As a fairly anxious person, I tend to wait to do things until I feel ready for them, or like I can do them perfectly. But that usually means I never do them at all. (See: thinking about starting a blog for five years…) Now, I’m learning to go for things when I want to do them or have to do them, and I’ll learn how to do it along the way. It’s a lot better than never starting anything because it might not be perfect. 

Carrie Fisher said it pretty well: “Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning

I’m starting this blog with a minimum of preparation (like I named it and decided to do it today) because I’ve been saying I should for years and if I just start it, I’ll actually do something with it. I’m also starting this blog instead of playing Fallout 3, which is dedication that I’ll hopefully continue giving to this blog. And now that expectations are low enough, you can enjoy the rest of this. 

I’ve been writing stories since I was about 6, and I’m currently 23. My very first story was a single-page novel with a blue construction paper cover. The title, “Kittens, Kittens, Kittens!” was scrawled in sparkly gel pen, and I cut out every cat I could find in my mom’s old Better Homes and Gardens magazines and glued them in a lovely collage. It was inspired by a dream I had in which, surprise, our cat had kittens. Somehow, a manx managed to produce two orange tabbies, two siamese, a pure black, and one that did actually look like her. I’ve always been one for fantasy. 

The second story, begun when I was 9, was the adventure of an exiled princess saving her kingdom from a usurping, black-furred unicorn with red eyes. It’s gone through quite a few transformations since then, and I’m still working on it. (It’s almost impossible for me to drop an idea. They all go in my back pocket for later.) 

At 11 I actually finished a story, a fanfiction inspired by Brian Jacques’ Redwall series. It clocked in at 80 pages and I posted it on a website where other creative homeschoolers could read it and teach me how to do things like add paragraph breaks. (And indent the paragraphs, gasp!) I wrote two more Redwall fanfictions, each one a little longer than the last, learning as I went. Age 13, I wrote a draft of that 9-year-old’s story, then through my teens I came up with lots of new ideas and finished nothing. Around 18 I completed a draft of a book called Smoke and Mirrors, which has a lot of problems, but was really good experience.

Then I started working on Lionheart, which is the trilogy that’s occupied me for the last two years. While writing it, I made the decision to take writing a little more seriously, treating it more like a second job than a hobby. I finished the first draft of all three books this past summer, and I’ve been planning the re-write since then. Currently I’ve outlined the first two books, and I’ll finish outlining the third before writing Book 1 for the second time. 

Lionheart is about Ana, a young woman who is prophesied to defeat Vartan, a mage who has taken over the country of Sonderlin. But the prophecy says that she’ll die too, and her father has raised her to believe that she has no choice in the matter. When Ana’s father finds a mage willing to train her, Ana is sent to finally begin the path to fulfilling her destiny. And then Vartan captures her. Elsewhere, young, sheltered Ben lives in the enchanted Gyymhran Forest, where he is occasionally granted visions by his god, Rashiel. Conrad stumbles through Sonderlin, trying to drown his past and forget where he came from. Both men are haunted with dreams of a girl who needs help, who asks them to look beyond themselves and take a risk. 

Briefly summed up, Lionheart’s thesis is “Man was not made to be alone”. It’s the story of people learning to trust each other, and to let themselves care and be cared about. Free will vs predestination are important themes, as well as dealing with the fallout of previous generations’ decisions. Lionheart is about growing beyond origins, healing from the past, and finding reconciliation and new beginnings. It’s about family, blood and chosen, and how necessary it is to have good people for support.

After I finish re-writing Book 1, I plan to submit it for publishing. But for now, I want to try stretching my writing muscles in blogging. It’s kind of a reward to go write something fun after writing in Lionheart, so the blog can be my reward. 

When I’m not writing, I’m embroidering, cooking, with friends, or more likely, playing video games. I’m trying to get back into reading, but two years of mostly English classes in college killed that for a while. My greatest inspirations are C. S. Lewis, obviously Brian Jacques, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and the Myst franchise of video games. And even though I love a good ending, I hate writing conclusions, so this is the end of my beginning.