For the past few days I’ve felt compelled to read a section in one of my fantasy books. Usually when I feel such compulsion, there are higher powers at work and a very good reason behind it. I’ve been putting off reading that section until today. I’ve learned it’s unwise to fight the spirits that guide me for too long because they find clever ways to pester me.
I can’t speak for all fantasy writers, but speaking for myself, I write fantasy to escape reality. I can write whatever I want and create magical worlds and characters. My characters do whatever I bid until they’ve developed into beings that control their own story. Such a thing might sound ludicrous to a non-writer but the writer types will relate…I hope.
Every writer, even a fantasy writer, has limitations. I can write amazing things about fictional worlds but I can’t rewrite my own story. I can’t write my father back to life. I can’t write a different beginning and ending to my marriage. I can’t write my friends out of bad situations. I can’t write what I want people to say. Life doesn’t follow a script. I can create characters based on how I wish things were, but I can’t change reality. I can only escape it through a flourish of words.
I don’t like killing off characters in my books. I understand that most writers probably feel it necessary but I have difficulty with it because of the grief I’ve experienced. There finally came a point when I was “brave” enough to kill a character in my fantasy series and it wasn’t easy for me. I wrote it several years before my father even had his first of many strokes that eventually led to his passing. I didn’t know what the pain of losing a parent felt like when I wrote that section of the book.
I sat down and began reading the section the powers that be were willing me to. I have an interesting gift. If I haven’t read something I wrote in a couple months, sometimes only weeks, I completely forget having written it. It’s all new to me and quite often I’m impressed with myself. So reading this section was both familiar and new. I was doing okay until I got to the part where the female character, Cliso, said something that was nearly verbatim of my thoughts in the first months after my father’s passing. “I want him not to be dead…” The moment I read that, I burst into tears and had to step away from my desk to go fix myself some dinner, walk Jazz, calm down and compose what I wanted to say here.
When I came back and finished reading the scene I liked it as a whole. The character that died in the book, his name was Emmon, was not Cliso’s father, but it was a man she deeply loved. The scene is between Cliso and Jiles, Emmon’s son. Cliso and Jiles had each other for comfort. They felt genuine love for each other. I did not have that when my father died. I had the love of my mother, brothers and daughters, but the romantic love wasn’t there. I am a bit jealous of Cliso for having such a man to comfort her but I understand my writer’s limitations and know I can’t write that into reality for myself. If it’s meant to be, it will come.
I have posted the excerpt of the book, it’s entitled Facets of the Kingdom. I’ve been compelled to share it but it’s entirely up to you if you read it.