Apologies for the long lapse between posts.
The Celtic Thunder concert, as expected, was amazing (special props to the hilarious interplay between new member thirteen-year-old Daniel and returning member Keith on You've Got a Friend in Me and Ryan's fantastic rendition of Friends in Low Places). The family visit afterwards was...
I showed my mother my current draft of The Highwayman's Apprentice. At first, she was intrigued, though there were points she did not understand. As she went along, she said that the story felt too crowded and I needed to focus more. Then, last night, the family sat down to watch Storm.
This morning, my mother and I had a talk.
Since I am sure you have all had variants of this talk with your own families, I will spare you the details. Suffice to say, my mother now feels that THA lacks originality and interest. She characterized it as a "transcription" of Storm and said that she saw nothing of me in it.
Storm, though a great deal of fun, is a sixty-minute musical revue. The plot is somewhat melodramatic and far-fetched. The characters are cliches, drawn larger than life to give the songs more emotional punch. They do not even have names, being known simply by their function within the story.
From it, I have evolved, or I am trying to evolve, a cast of characters who are real people, with names and wishes and decisions both made and yet to make. I am, or was, delighting in what might be happening that we never see, before, around, and after the documented action on the DVD.
Apparently my current work on THA, and the synopsis of the rest of the story the way I had planned it, did not convey this to my mother. She said that it will never come to anything worthwhile, and she strongly recommended that I abandon it immediately.
In her infinite wisdom, my mother would also like me to abandon the Legendbreakers universe, as she sees no central theme or unifying point in that either, and feels that I am simply pandering to people's emotional desires by pitting the evil Reality Cops against the good Legendbreakers.
Very shortly after these two modest requests, she lovingly pointed out to me that I seem to have trouble finishing things. Good heavens, I wonder why. I also wonder why I might have packed up my things, and my cats, and left my family's house six hours before I originally intended to go.
I do not plan to stop answering the phone to my mother, or to no longer go and visit her, or anything equally melodramatic. She wants what's best for me, and she did help me today, by pointing out some problems with the current draft of THA, though it can still stand as backstory.
Which it will.
The response to the teasers and ideas I have tossed out has been very positive. These characters have a firm hold on my mind and if I have not written them well enough to make them clear and distinct without too much cliche or stereotype, well, then, I'll just have to try again.
What do you think of three short, interlinked books, each covering the same period of time but telling the story of a different place and a different couple, or two, and then a fourth to tell the end of all the stories at once?
The first one I have in mind would be called The Widow in Waiting, and if you read the teaser a few posts back, it tells the story of Grainne's brother Sean and his dark-haired lady. The others do not yet have names, except for the last, which is still The Highwayman's Apprentice.
There will be magic. There will be bright colors and loud noises, and feats of derring-do. There will be young love and middle-aged love and family love (it wouldn't be an Anne story without families, would it?). And yes, there will be highwaymen, and gypsies, though less in the first book than in the others.
Still interested? Because in the end, my readers, my friends, it is you who make the decisions. It is you who decide if a story is or isn't worth my time, because it is you, and only you, who can tell me if you will or won't read it.
Please, please let me know. This has been a hard day for me and some support from you, if it's warranted by what you see in this post, would make all the difference in the world.