Deep Fantasy

Why did I coin the term Deep Fantasy?  Because, after telling people I write fantasy, I found myself saying things like: 'but not like Game of Thrones. I don't do epic battles, gory violence, complex political intrigue, or graphic sex' and 'not like Harry Potter with boy wizards, boarding schools, and magic systems' and 'not set in a city with werewolves and shape-shifters' and 'not Celtic with Druids and standing stones' and 'not like Lord of the Rings with elves and dwarves.' I don't consciously draw on existing fairy stories either, or Greek Myths, or any other obvious mythic system (although I might in the future) and I don't do dystopia. I like hope in my stories. 

Having made people glassy-eyed with what I don't write, I decided it would be more use to tell them what I do write and having discarded terms like 'traditional fantasy', 'pastoral fantasy' and 'spiritual fantasy' as not getting to the heart of the issue,  I came up with Deep Fantasy. 

Deep Fantasy recognises that fantasy has the potential to work on two levels: the surface level where the story should be gripping, emotionally moving, and enjoyable; and the deeper level, where the story's symbols, metaphors and imagery have psychological power.

I set my stories in Secondary Worlds but the settings can be more than backdrops to the action. In Heart Hunter, Fleet's ice-locked lands are a metaphor for her own congealed emotional state, and her quest to find the magic talisman to unlock the frozen streams and return food to her people, is a quest for adulthood. I discuss the Deep Fantasy aspects of my books on my website if you'd like to explore the idea further. 

While you mightn't have heard of Deep Fantasy, you probably have heard of Planners and Pantsers (or Panthers, as Isobelle Carmody prefers). The idea is that writers either plan out their novel in detail before they write, or jump in and see what happens (thus writing 'by the seat of their pants'). Apart from Heart Hunter (which started as a Ph.D and had to demonstrate Joseph Campbell's 17 part Hero Quest), I've always been a pantser. For me, a big part of the joy of writing is having wonderful discoveries emerge as the story reveals itself and, in the past, I couldn't imagine anything worse than knowing the story's outcome beforehand. 

 In reality, writers are rarely purely one thing or another, but it seems from my pantser viewpoint, that planners write more quickly. They don't need to continuously reflect on what's emerged in order to work out what comes next. Writing quickly is an advantage to all writers, but particularly to Indie authors, where releasing books regularly is important.  

Pantsering a stand alone is definitely easier than pantsering a series, as I discovered in Angel Caste. This series is complex on the deep fantasy level, and I found the final book (Angel Blessed) very demanding to write. It's something I'm keeping in mind with my new series (SOO). I don't think I'll ever be a planner, but I'll certainly need to consider each character's journey in more detail before they undertake it.

Cheers until next time.

Welcome to Newsletter #1

Hi everyone! Welcome to my very first newsletter. Thanks for subscribing!

This is the numero uno of my newsletters, and I will be 'newslettering' again when I've got updates about my projects, something to say on writing-related subjects, pictures to share, or freebies to send your way.  I also blog on Goodreads if you'd like to catch up with me more regularly.

So, what am I working on now? I finished the five book Angel Caste series and launched on Amazon KDP just before Christmas (2017). Yay! It's a series I love, so I hope you do too. As I was finishing the series, I was contemplating the rejig, re-edit and relaunch of The Kira Chronicles trilogy that was originally published by Allen and Unwin in 2007 - 9.

Once I stopped finding the trilogy in bookstores, I asked Allen and Unwin for the rights back, and being the great company they are, they were kind enough to oblige. So, the trilogy has been in the queue waiting for me to get to it for several years, and now I've started the task of making it into a six book series.

I've had fans of the trilogy worried about this, but all the things they love about Kira's story will stay. I'm adding some of the material cut from the trilogy, including the ending (originally Kira's journey concluded in Sarnia), and new material that enriches how the story unfolds. Book 1 was published before I had written Book 3, so there are things I'd like to strengthen in the earlier books. A series is also a better fit than a trilogy for Amazon KDP and, as an independent publisher, I have to consider that.

I've completed the first run through of Book 1, which will probably keep the title: The Whisper of Leaves, and had intended to push on with the second, and probably final edit, but decided instead to put some space between me and the story, crucial to good editing. So, I've gone back to a story I wrote some time ago called Avatar, which has been sitting unloved and all but forgotten in my files. Avatar predates the film by the same name, so you can guess how old the original story is. I'm loving rediscovering and enriching it.

Obviously I have to come up with a new title, and at this stage, it's likely be The Messenger. I'll complete the rewrite/edit before returning to The Kira Chronicles series, and am aiming for an end of March launch date. I'm doing some casual academic work this semester, so that might affect the schedule, but it's useful to have a goal.

After the Kira Chronicles series is complete (no firm date but some time in 2018), I'll start a series which I am presently researching. The series working title is SOO, but I won't reveal what these letters stand for yet (have a guess if you want!), and the series title might change. I don't usually start another series until I finish a current work, but I keep getting scenes and dialogue from SOO, so I've changed my working methods, and set up a file for them. 

Moving between The Kira Chronicles series and Avatar/The Messenger is also a change for me, but it's good to see what works. Once Avatar/The Messenger is done, I might well be working between The Kira Chronicles series and SOO. We will see.

Cheers until next time.