How my upcoming ‘Dream Whispers’ novel pulls me out of my comfort zone

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Greetings, my dearest family, readers, followers, friends

As I continue through my romantic fantasy novel, a wonderful journey I hope to share with all of you soon, I’ve come to realise that I’ve stepped further out of my comfort zone that at first meets the eye. All of these are intentional of course; I wanted a different novel than I’ve written before with a different feel to it. Yet, I had not realised just how much I’ve changed it until I put the sum of all the small items together. So I thought I’d take a moment to share this experience with you.

FEMALE LEAD

I won’t say this is the first time I have written with a female protagonist, but it is still something I am becoming accustomed to. Even though I had a myriad of females playing important roles in my epic fantasy series, Celenic Earth Chronicles, with Chenesia taking her own main quests on the side, Shadowolf was still the hero of the tale. In Silent Hill: Betrayal, it was Trevor.

Unbeknownst to many is that my unproduced space travelling sci fi screenplay, ‘The Space Drifter’, has Kaya as a female lead. Even less known to everyone is that there was a draft NaNo novel I worked on in 2015 called ‘The Secret of the Hidden Banshee’, which featured Jessica as the main lead.

So why am I so determined to play a female protagonist? Well, besides the fact that I support Emma Watson’s call towards gender equality in the HeforShe Initiative, and that women can be heroes too, on a personal note I wanted to try something really different. What more could pull me more out of my comfort zone than swapping gender leads?

ROMANCE

I remember being a romantic once (*stares off dreamily into the sky / ceiling)…in the height of my poetic era, when I would take to the pen (and then later in life to the keyboard) to jot down a wonderful lyric of beautiful words that rhymed with the rising sun and the harmony that its rays play on the dew-kissed forest.

Sigh

I’d forgotten who I was through the trials of this life. My wife may still remember or may have caught glimpses of that romantic guy. I wonder what happened to him…

Anyway. I’ve been toying with genres I never thought I would like, or that I don’t really enjoy myself. I definitely don’t intend on writing a full-on romance…my poor brain might give in. Besides, I think I would write it rather badly, not really having enough exposure to romantic novels. However, having had enough romantic elements in the Celenic Earth Chronicles, I am comfortable adding more romance to this novel than I am used to and seeing how well it does. At the core of my love for writing will always be fantasy. I love fantasy so very much. Which is why I have decided on a romantic fantasy novel.

CHAPTER HEADINGS AND NUMBERS

I am a very structured person. In both Celenic Earth Chronicles and Silent Hill: Betrayal, the parts and chapters are laid out nicely. Everything in perfect order. Each chapter is numbered and labelled, and in the new printed editions each page has a header indicating the chapter number and name. I am rather obsessed with making sure you know where you are in the tale.

This is another element I am taking myself out of, as much as doing so works on my nerves. Gone are the chapter numbers, and gone are the brief, two to three word chapter headings. Remember my headings that summarised the chapter in a few words, like “The Lapis Pins”? You kinda knew what the chapter was about.

I’m being more whimsical and mysterious about it now. As an example, one of the headings is “When Daunting Deceit Burns Fiercely”; another is “How Forbidden Feelings Reap Rewards”. It’s hard to tell exactly what will happen with whom, and the heading will only make sense once you’ve read the chapter.

This is me as an author testing to see whether knowing what chapter number you are on really matters. Also it gives me a breath of fresh air trying something new for a change, before I head back into my heavy structure when I write the Resilience and Malum books.

RELAXED PACE

I’ve possibly said this one too many time already, but it is relevant to this post. The pace of the action in this novel is more relaxed than any of my previous ones. That does not mean you will get bored, as there are still things happening on every page, in each chapter, streamlined with the main plot. If you miss a chapter you will still miss something vital and need to go back.

It is just the type of action that is more relaxed, like a mystery novel compared to an action novel. Less fighting, and more working out what will happen next. Like I’ve said, in the Dreamweaver Saga we will be entering the realm of dreams… where anything is possible, but also where the darkest of nightmares occur.

It is a pace I am still getting used to, but one that I believe will work and is appropriate for the setting of this novel.

Conclusion

So many may wonder, why the sudden change? Why take such a drastic swerve in a new direction? Well, I believe authors should toy around with different types of books and writing styles. I don’t think we should just sit comfortably with what we believe has worked. I believe certain sets of books should be predictable, and not the author. Like my readers should know what to expect from my future Shadowolf novels, and that they will be like Celenic Earth. The sequels to Silent Hill: Betrayal should follow the established order I have created in the first novel. The elements I have introduced in ‘Dream Whispers’ should continue in each Dreamweaver book.

Yet, I need to continue to grow in my writing, testing the landscapes of each, so that one day I can teach what I have learnt. Why should I limit myself to one type of writing style, when there are so many to play with? I am my own publisher after all… the world is my oyster.

This all reflects my inner nature. I am very much OCD when it comes to things being straight and in order, like papers on my desk should be aligned to the edges of the desk as an example. Yet, the other side of me hates being trapped in a pattern, so every now and again… I shift the papers out of line….

 

With Warm Regards

The Count of Celenic Earth

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