BWF, Which Leads to A World Which is Worlds
I'll be at the Brisbane Writers Festival this weekend, talking about The Stone Road and writing Fantasy. The book goes to the printers in the US this week, and it has been a delight working over it again, visiting the characters (who I love), and making a few tweaks here and there.
I've also worked on some edits of the US edition of Day Boy which comes out in August. (Yes, I have a book coming out in July and August*). It's been great to look at both of the books and see which bits cross over. I like the various ways you can read them.
The Stone Road is sort of a sequel to Day Boy, they're set in the same world, and reading both of the books enriches the other. But they work perfectly well read independently. And a close reading will show that there are differences in the world. Everyone experiences this world differently, and I see this as a kind of fantastical example of that.
I've worked on a series of short stories set in this world too (more on that down the track, hopefully) but you can see that sort of world building expanded there. I've always seen this story world as a voice world (with one exception) and containing a pretty close point of view character in each tale, and because I'm mostly interested in writing characters who don't completely understand their world, and because everyone understands their world in a different way, you get the same setting, but different. Ask a family about their experiences of certain events and you will get different stories, that's something that really interests me in writing first person fantasy.
I've been writing lists of images and themes that are mirrored in both books, and also the way they reinforce and contradict each other. If I get time I'll pop them up here. (Doors have a lot of significance in these books, and edges, and knives)
My world building is very much about evocation rather than systems of magic. I tend to stick to fairytale logic, but the rawer sort. There are rules, but they are tenuous, and easily broken, and the most useful sort of rule is to avoid the dangerous places and things, or at least be respectful of them, and to serve and nurture community.
One thing that both books focus on in different ways are circles, literal and metaphorical.
There are the ways the narratives look at seasons and time**, but also the ways both stories are ripples from, or towards acts of violence. I feel we are fed violence in so much of our media, and are too often given violence as the only appropriate response. One of these books is about that response, the other is a recoiling from that response.
Every act of violence (against our loved ones, against our enemies) diminishes us and our communities. I still don't know if I have served that argument well enough in these stories, but I keep trying.
* Actually, The Giant and The Sea is having a small release in the US in June, so that's June, July, August. (I feel tired already)
**The Stone Road in particular, plays loose with time. Though both books deal, in a way, with deadlines.