All Grown Up

I never intended to write a sequel to my book Alyraekas.  In fact, I was asked several times, especially near the end if I intended to.  The answer was a clear and categorical “no!”.  I love my characters.  I feel more invested in their lives, their stories than I have in any other characters in any other piece I’ve written.  But I spent 5 ½ years on their story (this does not include revisions).  I was ready to move on, explore new worlds, new characters.  I had brought them as far as I needed to.  The story could continue without me, beyond the pages.  This is really all a writer can hope for; to bring the story to a conclusion that allows it to progress without us.  Because our characters’ lives do not end with the end of the story.  The end, then, is not really the end at all, but merely the point at which our characters no longer require the support of our chronicling and quietly dismiss us.  I thought I had reached this point.  Before page 348.  When Rune’s name came up, quite unceremoniously, I realized my part was not over.  Not by a long shot.  Because Rune’s story had to be told.  He didn’t tell me; not like Hood in Alyraekas.  There was no insistence on his part; Rune’s not like that.  It was just an understanding I suddenly had.  And a few days later, when I was mowing, I realized I couldn’t even end with Rune’s story, because his story leads to Trill’s story, and hers needs to be told.  And so, I am in for the long haul, years longer of living in Alyraekas.

But as I started in on Rune’s story, I ran across an interesting problem.  Maybe problem isn’t the right word; new situation.  Rune’s story starts 10 years after the conclusion of Alyraekas.  While the story centralizes around a different set of characters – Rune, Trill, Mallin, Lake, Fariba – previous characters still play an important part.  One of these is Keely.  In Alyraekas, Keely was one of the three main characters.  While the story covers a span of two years, Keely is still a teenager at the end, a kid who is forced to grow up too soon.  Now, 10 years later, she’s on the verge of 30 and the mother of an 8-year-old child.  She went through a lot in the pages of Alyraekas, and has lived through even more in the years not recorded.  She’s all grown up now, and I’m finding it challenging to write her character.   I have to remain true to who she is, while allowing for the changes 10 years, marriage and motherhood would have imposed, not to mention her different role in society.   A part of me wants to write her exactly as I always have, but I know that’s unrealistic (yes, even in Fantasy, we have to pay attention to certain realistic details).  No one is that same as they were 10 years before.   So I find myself struggling to connect with this character with whom I was so bonded for 5 ½ years.  It’s kind of like going to your 10-year high school reunion and seeing your former best friend with whom you haven’t spoken since graduation.  It takes a while to re-familiarize.

And I know I might have the same problem when I go onto the next book, since I will jump another 9 years.  My characters are growing up without me, and I’m the one who has to scramble to catch up.  Fortunately, they have patience with me.  Let’s hope it continues.


~ S.D. Bullard


~ by sdbullard on October 6, 2013.

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