#12Months12Books – May

Wow. It’s May. And it’s almost mid-May. That’s really something. The year is not stopping, but thankfully, neither am I. As part of this #12Months12Books, I’m just about ready for May’s release. But, this month is going to be a little different. Here’s why:

I haven’t been broadcasting this enough, but I am actively seeking representation for what will be my first full-scale novel. The book is called The Road to Mars and is a sci-fi, post-apocalyptic story taking place sometime in the latter half of the 21st century. Here’s some backstory: Earth has colonized Mars via some highly advanced A.I., designed by entrepreneurial developer, Marion Perriello. His machines have prepared the planet over several years and after they finish their preparations, people begin their journey to the red planet. Over time, Mars advances rather quickly; discovering new sources of energy before finally declaring its sovereignty from Earth. The Earth doesn’t appreciate this move and prepares to go to war and win back its first interstellar colony. However, it soon becomes clear that Mars is far beyond the Earth, demonstrating its power during a UN conference with invisible ships and other high-tech gadgetry.

The Earth is fearful, but Mars decides to send a messenger, one bearing a gift out of good will and an act of peace. Problem is, the “gift” goes awry and sets off what my story will be calling “The Dark Bomb”: a wave of energy that subsequently takes all of Earth’s artificial light away, leaving the planet in darkness and naturally, utter chaos (as if we didn’t have enough of that all ready). Worse yet, the Dark Bomb seems to have set loose horrible creatures everywhere – monsters which seem to appear to those who have more fear than others. Some can see them, others cannot. And wherever there is fear, clouds of dark energy appear, signaling that fear (or death) is close by.

The novel itself will pick up 40 years after the Dark Bomb’s onset. As one might imagine, the Earth is still picking up the pieces and Mars has all but abandoned mother Earth in the process. However, Mars hasn’t completely left Earth to its own devices. Feeling responsible for what has happened, Mars elects to send its Shepherds to Earth, Mars-born, Mars-bred superhumans designed for rescuing people from Earth. And bringing them to Mars.

One of my main characters, Dr. Darion Wallace, is after a said Shepherd. His obsession is shortly-lived when he finally meets one, but he won’t be the only one who does. And that’s all I’m giving away on that.

So what about May? Well, that’s where the above backstory comes in. I’ll be releasing a short story (a little over 5,000 words) that tells the beginnings of Mars’ colonization. And it will be on Kindle as my May story. Yes, I know it’s much shorter than the others I’ve done, and it doesn’t really constitute as a “book”, but I think it’s well-served considering all the writing I’ve been doing. Plus, I hate when people tell things in reverse, aka releasing prequels after the main story has finished. So if anyone ever asks, I can always say that the prequel was out before the main canon. So there.

Thanks again to all who have read (and are currently reading) what I’ve done so far this year. You’re more than just dollar donors; you’re my inspiration to stay persistent and passionate about what I am doing. So thank you again.

#12Months12Books – February: “A Dinner with Titans”

A Dinner with TitansFirst off, much thanks to Diane Zizka – the one responsible for this cover piece. Thank you for your talents and hard work! It was much appreciated. I can’t do anything with watercolors. You’re a pro.

Now, onto the book itself, A Dinner with Titans.  Here’s a quick synopsis:

My February story follows a young man, Caretaker, who owns a castle in the wilderness. Everything’s fine except for one thing: he is surrounded by Titans, huge beings that destroy castles (like the Caretaker’s) and rule the land outside his walls. Over the years, the Caretaker has watched others fall and crumble, leaving him lonely and cut off from the world. But, the Caretaker makes a bold move and lifts his doors for one night – to host a dinner. For the Titans. His goal is to somehow make peace with those who might threaten his castle. But, when he opens his doors, he encounters something terrible. Not just the Titans themselves, but something sinister that has been eating away at his castle for years.

Okay – as you can guess, this story is a fantasy. But, I’ve written it as an analogy for the human heart. The Caretaker lives alone, behind his walls – guarded and afraid; fearful of being overtaken by the ‘Titans’ – the people we idolize or aspire to be like. His past experience tells him to keep his distance – to stay safe inside his castle – but his real enemy is not what’s outside his walls, but what’s inside.

When I was high school, I was asked to bring in an object representing love. I brought in a tiny paperweight. One that was shaped like a castle (terrible, right?) and honestly, I had no good explanation for it. But then I had to tell the class my reasoning, and I remember that presentation ending quite well; lack of preparedness and all. The ‘home is where the heart is’, but in my story, it’s a castle.

Looking back, I never dreamed I’d actually write a story about that concept, but hey, I’m a believer now.

I’ll have some more stuff to chew on with the next post. Till then.

#12Months12Books

I’ve started a personal campaign to write and publish 12 books in 12 months this year. Yikes, right? I would invite anyone else to join me, if they wish. Or take it as a challenge too. Much of this decision had to do with a desire to share my work more. And do so on a consistent basis. The rest came during some reflections over the past year.

In 2014, I did a lot of writing behind closed doors. Rather, I did a lot of experimenting. I started about 20 short stories, finished nearly half of them, and by year’s end, I published one of those of short stories. By the numbers, that’s not incredibly bad. But, if I were to continue this way – following through once every 20 times I began – it wouldn’t bode well for me in the long run. I’ve recognized I need greater discipline, specifically in bringing things to completion. This challenge will help me become better in that arena, I feel.

Or cause me to have a nervous breakdown by August.

No matter – I’ve started off 2015 on the right track. As I’m typing this, my January story is done and released –  The Color of Soul – and February’s title, A Dinner with Titans, is on its way to a final edit. Here’s my hope and prayer to stay the course as I head into March, April, and beyond.

Good to luck to those who are facing their own challenges this year. #12Months12Books, here we go.

The Scientist’s Dilemma… Here at last!

TheScientistsDilemma_JCLFaltot_Release

I am once again diving into uncharted territory with the release of my short story, The Scientist’s Dilemma, and I’m excited, to say the very least. I’ve spent a good deal of time making this work known in one way or another so this is the moment of truth. I’m finally getting something out there again. That’s a great feeling.

The past 12 months have been difficult, but good. I felt challenged by something that said to “write smaller” and here is the result of that acknowledged challenge. So after writing several short stories and needing to grow in specific areas, I was feeling confident enough to put another work out there. It’s not to say that this was at the top of that pile, but it’s the one that felt the most appropriate.

My first two books were essays; this is a straight fiction. My first two books were rather angst-ridden and littered with hard questions; this story has served as one way to absolve some of those anxieties and quell the desire to have all the answers at once. In retrospect, I think it all makes sense now.

But, enough of all that. My hope is that if you’re reading this, then you’ll consider giving The Scientist’s Dilemma a read and ultimately be encouraged, if not entertained, by it. Many thanks to Andrew DePolo, one half of the Twin Composers, for creating this slick cover. Looking forward to the next one we can cook up.

Till next time,

J.C.L.

 

The Scientist’s Dilemma – December 4th!!

It’s nice to have a solid release date and I have one. I’ve been posting, tweeting, and Facebook-statusing lately about my short story, The Scientist’s Dilemma, but I’ve been neglecting to mention when it will be arriving. So here it is: Thursday, December 4th for Kindle and Kindle apps. No paperback, no hard cover, just electronic this time around and it’ll be starting at $3.99 per download in the U.S.; an amount that will vary in other parts of the world. So I hope you’re one of the folks who has the capability to give it a download soon. No matter what part of the world you’re in.

And that’s it for shameless self-promotion and now onto a small amount of self-reflection.

It’s been over a year since I last published something and I forgot how nerve-racking the anticipation can be. As a writer, you must knowingly enter a certain mindset prior to releasing your work. The reason being that when you are putting something out to the public – one such as The Scientist’s Dilemma – you are inviting a wave of opinions, thoughts, critiques, and hopefully a small amount of praise directly to your doorstep.

A good analogy would be standing on the other side of a dam, pulling back the gates, and taking a deep breath as the wave comes crashing over. Yes, I’m sure that sounds overly dramatic but sharing stories is like trying to impress total strangers with a good joke at a party. Your acceptance – your initiation, if you will – is dependent on so many things: knowing your audience, having a strong delivery, and ultimately giving a compelling message. All three of those have to come together if your goal of making new friends will come to fruition. The same applies to writing and sharing a good story. And if I’m lucky enough to make some new friends then hey, that’ll also be a win in this newest of endeavors.

More later.

“The Scientist’s Dilemma”

The Scientist's Dilemma Cover

I’ll be releasing this short story in just a few weeks. It’ll be available for direct to Kindle only – so no paperbacks. It’s not as lengthy as a full scale novel and it’s not the first in a trilogy, but it’s a story that has a significant place in my heart. And that’s as good a reason as any to share it, I figure.

The title alone isn’t meant to be a complicated one. This story is actually about a scientist and it’s actually about a dilemma too; one that just so happens to belong to the scientist (told you it was simple, didn’t I?). That’s the premise of this tale and it’s a premise I believe so many other people – even those without the title of ‘scientist’ – find themselves struggling to answer at one point or another: just what the heck are we all waiting for?

It’s a huge question to tackle; overwhelming to some and perhaps strangely intoxicating to others, yet it’s a question I find simmering under the surface of practically every person I run into. Or have the pleasure to read about. That strange hunger that rises up within and says, “I don’t know if I belong to this world alone. Is there something else?” In my case, it’s a question I’ve pondered on many-a-starry night, which is why I like the cover so much. It represents that curious nature any person possesses and it’s an image that ultimately brought legs to this story. What’s waiting out there to be discovered? Is there anything at all? 

The universe is a big place and has plenty to offer while we’re here, but sometimes looking out is an easy alternative to looking in.

So to quote Shakespeare and wrap this up, “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves.”

 

“Spirit Run” – part 14 … aka The End

Phew. It was more than a month ago when I began this little venture and now it’s come to a close. I want to pat myself on the back or have someone do it for me, but that won’t be necessary. I’m elated to be done with this story. Plain and simple. Some 15,000+ words later and it’s done. It’s not a long tale by any means, but it’s complete. That’s something to write home about. Or in this case – post on your blog.

There’s a part of me that’s sad too, of course. And why wouldn’t I be? When you come to the end of a project, a major weight gets lifted. And you’re happy to be done, but confused on what to do with the feeling now that you’re done. That’s when the sadness draws close. What’ll I do next? What shall I focus my efforts on now? Well, my answers are easy: edit, revise, or start another story. That’s it. Simple? Yes, but daunting all the same.

Well, here it is anyway. The last section of Spirit Run and the longest one too. Sorry in advance for any who read it, but hey, that’s how it happened. I’ve placed the complete story on the blog until I figure out what else I’m going to do with it.

Enjoy!

The Angel reached with both hands behind his ears and pulled out two swords. They glistened in the sky as more and more Angels flew down from the clouds above. The new force of Angels descended upon the Demons, driving them into a chaotic spiral. Harda flew close to the Angel, shooting down Shadows and Demons with golden arrows in tandem with the double blades of his new ally.
“Norman, so glad you could join us!” shouted Harda.
“What was that?” said the Angel. “My name is – “
“Not important!” shouted Armin, thrusting his spear through a Shadow. The burn on his wing was not healed but he fought on. “Much obliged for the help, friend. Now let’s keep these foul creatures at bay!”
The added help was working well, but the Daughter was not moving any faster towards the woman. She walked with a slow gait, untouched by the battle but without the sense of urgency she had previously. The woman ahead was still sitting with her back to them, mumbling something to herself through half sobs and sighs. The Daughter looked to be catching fire, her light flashing vividly as she drew nearer. The two were but a few paces from each other; the Daughter shining and the woman crying out. The Trio tried to stay with the Daughter, but they knew this was it: the moment they had been working towards. All that was required now was for the woman to turn around; to uncover herself from darkness. But right as the Daughter began to reach out, hand extended to the young woman, a cold and eerie bellow covered the plane. Demons wailed as if they were in danger and Angels drew their weapons close to them. The battle was in favor of the Angels, but something had turned every being there into a state of perpetual panic.
“No…,” said Balphin. “It’s him.”
A new figure rose up over the young woman, casting a dark and cold veil over her. Its shadow was so large that it blotted out any surrounding light – even that of the largest Earthly Angels. The Trio, in close proximity, flapped their wings but were unable to get any closer to the Daughter. This new being was enormous and though it looked to have a face, it did not speak; it only increased in size over the young woman, swallowing her in its shade.
“Enough!” shouted Armin. “You cannot have this one. She will not listen to you! Not anymore!”
“Listen to me?” mocked the Dark Veil. Its words were minced and twisted, its voice echoed like a well, but hissed like a viper. “Why must she listen to me at all? Is she not capable of making her own choices?”
The words hit the Angels like a sledgehammer. Harda drew back on his bow but he could not release. Balphin picked up his sword but could not strike and Armin readied his spear but could not throw. The Angels were completely powerless.
“Do you see?” said the Dark Veil. “Why not let her choose which way is best? She is more than capable of doing so. Wouldn’t you agree?” The Dark Veil shifted its gaze upon the Daughter, who was still burning with great intensity. The words were having little effect upon her. She took another step forward and the Dark Veil spoke again.
“What good can you do?” it mocked. “What can you do that she cannot do already for herself? Have you not seen her plight? Have you not felt her pain? What have you learned on this journey that can be of any value to her now?”
The Daughter took another step in spite of its mockery.
“Don’t you see how she hurts?”
The Daughter took yet another step.
“Can’t you feel how she needs relief? What is it that you will offer her?”
Another step.
“Why do you think you’ll be any different? Is there anything of value that you possess that she does not already possess for herself?”
Another step.
The Dark Veil towered higher over the Daughter, frustrated with the Daughter’s ignorance towards him. The Trio waited patiently behind her. They could go no further. Then, all time stopped; the words of the Dark Veil ceased and the Daughter froze where she stood, but her flames burned on. The Trio flapped their wings in unison as they waited. Then, the young woman – silent till now – spoke:
“I am done with this,” she said. “I cannot go on like this… Too many … too many times … Something … Something must… I need you… I give myself to you now, Father. Please… help me.”
The Dark Veil screamed. Shadows and Demons withdrew their attack and the Trio’s wings doubled in size. The young woman lifted her head and the spiritual plane shifted. The Dark Veil fell from where it stood and the Daughter replaced him. The young woman and the Daughter were – at last – facing one another. The shame that had separated them was gone. The Daughter extended her hand and broke the space between spirit and flesh, touching the young woman. Fire and light transferred into the eyes of the young woman, filling her with the same light that encompassed the Daughter. The outpour was blinding and the Trio shielded its eyes. When it was over, the Daughter underwent yet another metamorphosis, its form changing into a new body. The transformation frightened the Dark Veil, driving it from the young woman and out of sight. Then, this New Body, pure of light, caressed the young woman’s face, lifting it higher with its own. Her eyes had turned red, swelling up with tears. Small beads of water ran down her face and onto the sidewalk. She cried, sobbed, and even laughed – the love of something otherworldly had penetrated her core, but not of out of intrusiveness, but of invitation. Then the New Body spoke.
“All things…,” it said. “…can be made new. I will show you.” The New Body disappeared and a crackle of thunder brought the world back into its normal passage of time. The physical plane returned and the Angels found themselves floating among it.
“Look!” said Harda and the Trio looked to the sky. A tiny drop of rain fell from the clouds and landed directly next to the teardrops of the young woman. Then another fell. And another. Soon, it was raining upon the young woman, but she didn’t move from where she was. Rather than seek shelter, she closed her eyes and raised her head. The tears that had covered her became lost in the shower of new rain as it fell and caressed her face. Then she smiled and raised her hands slowly into the air.
“’All things new’…,” she said aloud. The words, she thought. She had heard them. She opened her eyes to see a world that was different than she had closed them. The rain fell harder, soaking her completely. She turned her head and saw three figures standing by the sidewalk. It was a man, woman, and child – their hands intertwined, under the safety of a large umbrella as they walked through the rain. When her eyes fell upon them, she saw the little boy break from his mother and father and run towards her. He was carrying something with him, but the young woman couldn’t see what it was.
“Do you need this?” asked the child. He held out his right hand, a small umbrella gripped tightly. The boy had to be no more than 10 or 11, she figured. His big, brown eyes were friendly and inviting. The woman wiped her face and accepted the gift from the child.
“Thank you,” she said, trying not to sob. She looked back at the couple, who was under the veil of their own umbrella, but saying nothing. They watched intently from a distance, waiting for their son to return. “That was very sweet of you.”
“You’re welcome,” said the boy. “We had an extra one and Mom’s was torn earlier by the storm, but Dad’s was big enough for all of us. When I saw you, I figured you could use it. I like the rain but you shouldn’t let yourself get soaked in it. All things are made new by the rain though, aren’t they?”
The young woman nearly broke down again when she heard the words, but the boy’s smile kept her from doing so. She thanked him one more time and the little boy returned to his family – protected once again from the rain. The couple nodded at the young woman, who waved kindly as she flipped open her new umbrella. Then the kindly Trio, who had appeared as if out of nowhere, walked down the sidewalk, took a left turn and disappeared into the night.
“Thank you,” said the young woman. “Thank you.”
Her world restored, the young woman picked up her things and opened her car door. She threw the pills she had with her into a bag and drove away. She had no need for them anymore. She had only the road ahead and a light to shine the way home.

*****

“Small, this one,” said Armin, an Angel of the 11th guard. His transparent body floated in the plane between planes. Below him, a small ball of light twinkled in the darkness. “About as small as the last one, wouldn’t you say?”
“Indeed,” said Harda. His comment was more out of habit than agreement, but he knew that Armin was eager to get moving. “But I wouldn’t say he’s bigger or smaller than the last one just yet.”
“No matter,” said Balphin. “He just doesn’t know how big he is. Once he knows, he’ll get going.”
“Agreed,” said Armin. “But he, you say? Well, that has yet to be seen, now doesn’t it?”
The Angels billowed with bright blues and gold. The tiny orb of light sparkled and pulsed as though it were about to explode. Then it rolled a fraction on its side, a yellow dot of light left behind.
“Well,” said Armin. “Looks like we’re about to find out, aren’t we?”

Everyone Has Unique Struggles

Every person in the world has a story to tell. And every person in the world has a different struggle to overcome. I’m honestly humbled by this reality; it’s a truth of life in case you were wondering. No man or woman alive today leads a perfect existence. There’s a definite push and pull in the universe and that same push and pull is occurring just below the surface of every person. It’s happening deep within, close to the heart, and everywhere in between. That’s a fact. So as this story of mine comes to a close, I’m experiencing a hardship of my own: creating a proper struggle for my character. Weird problem to have, is it not?

The reason for this conundrum? I’m convinced that we live in an age of bad writing. Shock value supersedes pure value; predictable and familiar is more welcome than unpredictable and unfamiliar; and the concept of “making it” only applies to writers who have had their works transformed into film. No fault of theirs, but 99% of the time I tell people how I’m finishing up a story, the first question I get asked is this – to my chagrin – something like this: “Do you think it’ll be a movie someday?” To which I reply, “Good Lord, if it does, I hope to have some serious say in how it translates.”

Spirit Run has really made me consider what it takes to make a decent character; specifically one who has a dilemma worth resolving. Every great story has a conflict that’s needs resolution. The questions I have to answer – as a writer – are how to present that conflict, how to get there, and how to go about resolving said conflict. You can stick to the basics, but ultimately, you have to consider what hasn’t been done before. I perform this calculation anytime a new idea poses itself. Does the problem make sense? Is the character exciting to me? Do I care to see what happens to him or her? If my answers end up being ‘no’, I move elsewhere. But if I’m intrigued by where it might be headed, I press on.

The main character of Spirit Run has no name; something I leave ambiguous for my own reasons, but she definitely has a struggle to overcome. And it’s a struggle that’s unique to her, but altogether relevant to the reader too. That’s what I’m hoping to accomplish with this story. Create something new, something different but something familiar too. A unique struggle if I ever had one.

“Spirit Run” – Part 13

Lucky number 13 here. I’ve been putting off this part for a while, I feel. Maybe it’s because I’m nearing the end of this tale. Or maybe I’m just being lazy. I don’t really care which, but I do care about sharing it before I lose sight of doing so. So here it is: the second-to-last section of this story.

Many thanks for the feedback everyone. The encouragement received is more than appreciated – it is humbling and just plain awesome. I’ve uploaded the entire story (minus part 14) on the website.

Thanks again.

“That’s our girl!” cried Harda. The Trio and the Daughter were traveling at a speed that not even the Shadows could sustain.
“Look, brothers,” said Balphin. “That must be where we are headed.”
The Angel pointed with his sword to the center of the horizon. Up ahead, they saw the back of a young woman. She was seated, head between her knees, with long dark hair falling down. Her back heaved up and down, breathing heavily. She eventually stood up, walked to what appeared to be her front door, grabbed a purse and other belongings and exited. Outside, she approached a small car, opened it and drove off. The Trio, Daughter and other Redeemers followed close behind, albeit still a fair distance from where the young woman was.
“That must be her,” said Harda. “Look at how she avoids us.”
“She won’t show us her face,” said Balphin. “The shame keeps her from looking upon us.”
The car drove for a time before finally stopping inside of a parking lot. The woman stepped out of her vehicle and walked to the front of a large building. There were windows all along the outside, with people seated within and throughout. She didn’t enter this place, instead she peered in as if she were looking for someone. And when she found whom she was searching for, she stopped. A young man, seated at the bar, was chatting and placing his hands on a woman he was next to. Their conversation looked lively under the lights of the bar, but there were dark Shadows by their heads and hearts, indiscernible to any mortal’s eyes. The woman dipped her head and walked back to the parking lot. She leaned against her car before slowly slipping down onto one knee. She cupped her hands over her face and began to sob. In her purse, she found a bottle and shook it gently. There was still something left and she wanted to taste it. The Trio could smell the aroma of something filthy and the path to the young woman doubled in length. All along the road, new dangers sprung up – lined with all manner of spiritual beings that had been transparent till now.
That’s when the Trio heard it. War had erupted. Angels and Demons were engaged in battle all around the young woman. Tiny flickers of light, usually unseen by the human, ignited and came alive for all the spiritual realm to see. More Angels and Demons appeared, doing battle as they floated above and all around the distraught woman. The space between realms was warped, only her human form could be seen clearly. Time was slowing down as the war raged on. These new Angels were unlike the Trio; they were bigger. Their heads were wrapped with golden crescents and their weapons were colored in bright gold. The Demons were also different. Some had the appearance of heavenly things, but their light was inverted, drawing in everything to themselves. They shouted at the young woman, seeking praise only for themselves before being silenced by the attack of an Earthly Angel. The two factions had other differences as well. Whereas the Angels were coordinated in their strikes, the Demons were not. Those allied with the Darkness did not aid one another in combat. Their individual gain and self-preservation was more important, it seemed, while the combined onslaught of the Angels was unified. Demons stepped over top of other Demons, calling out for someone to worship them as they attacked the young woman.
“Don’t lose sight of her, lads!” shouted Armin. The Daughter ran headlong through the storm, advancing as quickly as the Trio and other Angels could make possible for her. Demons lashed out, but the Earthly Angels crushed them before they could reach the Trio. The ground shook as the Daughter ran on. The path to the woman was shaking, a sharp static resonating through the tunnel that led to her. One of the larger Demons slashed at the Daughter, but Armin intercepted. He took the blow from the Demon, cutting his wing and landing on the ground.
“Armin!” shouted Harda.
Armin tumbled and rolled but the Demon was not concerned with Armin; it wanted the Daughter and rushed in to claim her. Harda and Balphin flew over, standing face to face with the Demon. It was hideous but marvelous to behold. Its body was literally inverted; its head was down where its knees should have been but its legs were absent, or without form. A large mouth opened by its chest while its arms jutted from its sides. Light glimmered just below the mouth while a large hole – dark and black – cradled above its throat. Its skin was shining but it darkened, then paled as it drew closer to the Daughter. This creature interchanged between something beautiful and something terrifying with every advancement it made. Balphin and Harda were not impressed by its array of stunning attributes. They charged headlong and cut the Demon with their weapons before it could impede upon the Daughter. The creature howled, ever calling out the Daughter as it backpedaled from them. The two Angels then snatched their fallen comrade and reformed their protective circle. The Daughter slowed her pace as though she was waiting for Armin to rejuvenate himself.
“Don’t stop for me, sweetheart…” said Armin. His strength was fading. “Don’t stop… please don’t… burns…it burns like fire….”
“Do as he says!” shouted Balphin and he scooped up Armin under his arm. “Harda, can you follow her?”
“Yes, I will,” said Harda. He floated above the Daughter, watching for any other being that may try to ensnare her. “Do not lose hope. We can make it yet.”
“Perhaps you only need a few more to help you along,” shouted a voice from the plane above. The Trio raised their heads to see what had called out to them. Armin’s face beamed with joy and the other Angels did the same. It was none other than the Angel that Armin had encountered before. With him, he brought an entourage of other warriors, each equipped with a weapon ready to do battle.
“Don’t fret, my friends!” shouted the blue-eyed Angel. “You rescue is here. As requested!”

Thoughts on “Spirit Run” – Part 12

Establishing the proper setting for a story can be maddening. At least for me it can be that way. I’m the type of character-creationist that loves to start an idea with the character first. In other words, I look at a person or persons and wonder how I might be able to tell their story effectively. Or in a completely new way. The setting – where the story will take place – becomes an afterthought. Is that a bad thing? Well, it most certainly can be. Let me explain….

For example, did George Lucas anticipate the story of Luke Skywalker taking place in the middle ages? Probably not. And was Tolkien conjuring ways that Frodo Baggins could drop the One Ring in the fiery pits of planet Mars? No, probably not either (but could you imagine that?!). Sure, both stories could have been told in alternate time periods – if we’re honest about that – but chances are, each creator had a firm stance as to what particular place in time their characters would reside. Spaceships and high tech gadgets for Lucas; swords and shields for Tolkien’s universe. And with the setting established, the rest of the story can fall in line, especially the characters.

As for me? I don’t normally know what time period I want my characters to jump around in. I can craft a father estranged from his son, a woman seeking her dead daughter’s killer, or two brothers playing a game with one another, but when it comes time to pick a setting, I’m at a loss. Ugh. So how do I choose what to use? It’d be nice to have a world readily established so I don’t have to worry about it. But I don’t. And the process can be maddening.

I say all this because my story, Spirit Run, dances between two very different settings. On one hand, there’s the spiritual realm – light, bright colors, and strange beings like creeping shadows and demon-like creatures. But now, I’ve reached a point in the story where my characters are crossing over to the physical realm – so there’s streets, trees, and other Earthly things that the reader can familiarize with. Describing the physical plane is easier, but what time period should it be in? The simple answer would be 2014. It’s current and it’s modern. But one part of me says to not do the obvious. Leave it up to interpretation, perhaps?

Well, I guess we will see where my mind and heart go on that one. Here’s to having clear vision on setting.