“Novelly” Challenged: Rewriting a Story I Don’t Know How to Tell


Answer me this: how do you explain wind to someone who has never felt it?

I never thought I would encounter a challenge like this, as I began rewriting the first installment of my series. (I would say trilogy, but there are points as I’m writing in which I’m not entirely sure the story can be condensed into only three volumes. Word lover problems.) It’s wind. It tickles your face and scatters leaves, sways trees, helps remind us the world is in constant motion even when we feel stranded in the same space for months.

I just had to go and make things complicated. Again.

Explanation (the abridged version): This society lives inside an environment-controlled “structure.” I’m not trying to be original here, so don’t nag me. The point is, even though these people like to think they know everything there is to know about everything, they don’t. Hence the dilemma of a character “experiencing wind” for the first time. It’s a challenge I accept. Almost one I crave. Not because it’s impossible, but because I want to be creative with it. Original. New.

Bigger than this specific challenge, which I won’t actually hit until the second book (and that could take awhile, at the rate this first one is coming along) is the umbrella challenge of the story itself. I’m having a hard time defining the genre, for one thing. It’s not really fantasy or sci-fi. It’s certainly not dystopian fiction or romance. It’s a little bit of everything, which is driving me even crazier than I already am (ha). It’s set in the future, but it’s not very futuristic, except for a few inventions I’m sure could actually be a thing someday (maybe).

And then, as you’ve previously read, there’s the whole romance issue. Or lack thereof.

The original story was supposed to involve something that has been done plenty of times before: a society that does not support romantic involvements between its members. But that started to seem far too unrealistic, especially since there are five teenagers involved. Their discouragement of emotional expression, however, makes defining love difficult, if not impossible. The only person who legitimately isn’t allowed to be in a relationship because of her career (it’s complicated) still is, so it’s a big mess of questions and boundaries and whether love is a waste of time.

Not that I think that or anything. In fact, this story has become an opportunity for me to tell an atypical love story: not a Romeo and Juliet kind of love story, and no, not a love triangle, either. The main love story, the one that drives a good portion of the plot lines (but isn’t the main focus) is between two people who don’t want to be in love, but feel that without the other person, life would crumble.

That’s not what’s unique about it, though (certainly not). There is a common denominator holding them together. A secret (besides their relationship, which is, ahem, forbidden). And one of the very few people who knows about this secret is not exactly playing nice with anyone else in this game of lies.

Oh yes, there’s tension, a stillness like when there’s a storm coming but no wind.

See? Wind analogies rule. This is not an easy feat.

Also, there are a lot of POVs in this book (about seven so far …), which is completely new to me. This is the first book that I have not written in first-person.

And I know nothing about owls.

Confused? You’ll just have to read the book. Not yet available in stores. Or pending review. Or written.

Love&hugs, Meg<3

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