Self-examination. This compound word has different meanings for different people. For some, it is something to be abhorred and avoided like the plague. For others, this is a literal examination of their physical self. Yet, for those who practice this art, it is a categorical tool that allows oneself to revise their world view as well as revise their self-view. 2016 has been a year of Self-examination for me. In late 2014, I wrote my first novel, by mid-2015 I had written four novels, only two of which I published. By the end of 2015, I had written a monster one-hundred-fifty-thousand word novel that would be the start of a new series, and decided to scrap it. I spent most of the first half of 2016, revising the second novel I published (Atlas) and writing short fiction. I released one short story each month starting in February through November. Then I published an Anthology of those short stories last week.
Yet, for those who practice this art, it is a categorical tool that allows oneself to revise their world view as well as revise their self-view.
During all of this writing, I began to question what kind of writer I wanted to be. I recreated myself several times over the past year. Deciding I would be a purely Fantasy author, I created the world of Vandor and poured all of my darkness into its stories, but in pouring out that darkness, I found light. I realized that I am not the dark person I thought I was. I have dark thoughts, dark moments, like anyone else, but that darkness does not consume me as I thought it did. I mentioned last time that horror had become an outlet for my darkness. That the stories I found as a youth cried out to me regarding their kinship to my mind and heart. I found – as I began to write these dark thoughts down in the very dark world of Vandor – that I am not so dark of a person.
During all of this writing, I began to question what kind of writer I wanted to be.
Fantasy and Science Fiction are therapeutic for me, a release of my inner struggles into print. My own Pandora’s box as it were. This brought me to another realization, I love reading dark things, I love reading about hardship and sorrow, but I also need it to come to a fruitful end. It doesn’t have to be a happy ending, but there needs to be an ending that doesn’t leave me feeling darker than when I began. The same has come of my writing.
I love reading dark things, I love reading about hardship and sorrow, but I also need it to come to a fruitful end.
Science Fiction and Fantasy opened a door for me. The door stood open to a hallway of options. My initial response was to run for the darkest door I could find. I opened it and leaped into the unknown reveling in the excitement and adventure of it all. That led to many stories, settings, and ideas that lay dormant for years. When I emerged to write my first novel in 2014, I decided I wanted to write a Space Opera like Firefly and Star Wars. I’m proud that I finished the novel, but I feel that it is short of the grandiose I reached for. Still, the euphoria of writing a novel, and subsequently publishing a novel, was too good to let pass into oblivion.
I opened it and leaped into the unknown reveling in the excitement and adventure of it all.
I’ve struggled this year, I published my second novel in June, but again it did not have the same feel I had hoped it would. This led me to believe that maybe, I wasn’t cut out for Science Fiction. Which led to my inevitable turn to Fantasy. The feeling of remorse that my first two novels were not as grand as I hoped reignited that dark flame in me and I grasped onto it, holding fast in hopes of having that inspiration originally given to me in my youth. What I found was therapeutic to be sure, but the outpouring of my dark flame reminded me of my love for Science Fiction and the reason I write both Science Fiction and Fantasy.
What I found was therapeutic to be sure, but the outpouring of my dark flame reminded me of my love for Science Fiction
Fantasy is an outlet. It is my go to for short fiction with a dark twist that allows my creativity to flow when I look at the page. Fantasy will always be second though. It is, for me, a place where I can escape my fears and worries about tomorrow by returning to yesterday.
Fantasy will always be second though.
Science Fiction is my light. It is the place where I can speculate about what is to come, what I want to see, and how I will overcome fears of the future. So, why did I never grow up? Because I love the dark, but sometimes I need a little light.
Science Fiction and Fantasy are my two opposing forces that drive me forward and help me to evolve. I didn’t grow up, because growing up means leaving things behind and I’m not ready to leave behind the make-believe. Until next time folks.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Author,