Don’t you love it when you hit that “groove” of whatever it is you like? If you’re a chef (and I can only imagine this because a chef I am not), maybe it’s that moment you’ve pulled the cake or truffle or soufflé out of the oven and it’s perfect. You spent some chunk of time tossing ingredients into a bowl (in my case, I’d hope for the best and stand by with the fire extinguisher), and your hard work’s paid off. Voilà!
Maybe you’re a woodworker or carpenter. That pile of lumber and raw materials now has shape and form and function. Where before it was just a pile. And not just anyone could do what you’ve accomplished. It took a tick of skill. Voilà! (As with the baking analogy, woodworking endeavors would require a standby fire extinguisher and EMS team fully stocked with goodies to stop arterial bleeds…)
My recent writing challenge produced a cool short story. One that fits into another world I have some other shorts in that I’ve named The Recruitment Saga. These won’t likely appear in the free fiction Friday section here on the blog because they’d not make too much sense as standalones—well, they do and they don’t. I spotted a common theme among them, added a pinch of fantasy and dash of doom and Voilà! A series was born.
The most recent, The Dragonfly, (still in editing) is the first in the series that crashes some of the seemingly unrelated characters together and we get a sense of what might be at stake. I have a feeling The Recruitment series will be sort of like the Star Wars saga. No, I’m not comparing my skill or imagination to Lucas. Not in the slightest. Nor to the talent that writes for the more recent Episodes (but doggonit, Harrison? Really? That was my childhood flashing and falling and dying before my eyes right there on the big screen…) I haven’t brought myself to watch Solo yet. Real life happened when that movie was out, and I’m still bitter about Mr. Ford.
Anyway, Star Wars has prequels and sequels and has been presented to the audience in an out-of-order fashion. You could choose to watch the Episodes in the order they were created or in the order of “story timeline.” Or you could watch just one and have fun. Some stand alone, others don’t. There my comparison to this far, far away universe ends.
Little Miss Muse is dishing out The Recruitment Saga to me out of order. Old, young, past, future. The first Recruitment story I wrote over a year ago, The Recruit, is written in time future. I thought it was a one-and-done sort of deal. The next one I wrote, The Bibliophile’s Curse, takes place before all the others, time-wise. At least for now. That might change as I revisit characters’ backstories. At the end of The Dragonfly, the main character meets the star of The Killing Jar, and the Wolfe lurks from Bibliophile, and we can vaguely see the thread that binds the stories together.
My goal is to smash them all into an anthology once I have enough to warrant a full-blown book.
I have fun writing in this world. I like the idea of subtle other-regions colliding with our present-day world—most people being oblivious to their existence, but a chosen few must embark on some epic quest to save one or the other of the worlds. And these chosen ones must keep the rest of humanity in the dark, because, well, humanity as a whole has never done a fabulous job of caring for itself. Humanity, as a whole, rarely has Voilà moments.
I’ve realized something interesting while writing Recruitment. I have an obsession with siblings. I knew this only vaguely before I started writing, but it’s grown. Being an only child is rough in the relatability department. I can’t quite fathom the bonds between brothers and sisters. I watch them play out in families I know and in others’ portrayals of them in books and movies, but I don’t get it. I’ve never experienced it.
I never understood my own two kids—why they wouldn’t get away from each other when they were younger. Why they seemed to thrive on fighting over the dumbest things. My husband (the baby of three) assured me this was completely normal.
When I write about siblings, I must imagine hard the love/hate/bond/betrayal, etc. because I’ve never felt that.
Twins and multiples and uber large sibling groups intrigue me to no end. What must it be like to have someone be there all the time, from the very beginning? Yeah, yeah, your parents or guardians are around, but multiples? They shared a room from the time they were one cell tall. And multiple kids, like more than two? (Two is my number, so anything more is “big” to me.) How do you ever keep the laundry clean or the bellies full? I think the managers of those households are superheroes.
I’m also terribly fascinated with the relationships in adoptions and fostering situations. These instances show up frequently in my stories as well. And, I’m not writing what I know at that point, I’m writing what I guess or imagine is the case. I’ve got nothing to base them on.
I’m not adopted. I don’t think. Though sometimes I wonder... Nevertheless, I have to guess what these kids feel and think when I write about an adopted character. Some, I imagine, are grateful. Some may not even know the story of their beginning yet. Some may be resentful, full of hurt and loss and abandonment. Some may be grateful and resentful at the same time. What a gloriously difficult burden to bear.
I’ve never fostered or adopted a human. Furry, four-legged things and one winged thing, but no babies. I know what it’s like to have a doctor hand me a squirming child of my own making, but I’ve no idea what emotions must flood over parents who bring home an infant or toddler or teenager that isn’t biologically theirs, but theirs nonetheless. To love and nurture and hope and dream with. And to struggle with.
A huge shout out to those with adopted or fostered kids. You’ve chosen to make something amazing out of a seemingly mismatched set of people—yet not mismatched at all, perfectly perfect for your world. You’ve chosen to take someone else’s blood and make them part of your everyday life. Part of you.
Voilà! You’ve created a family.
You have my undying admiration.
Thank you for hanging out for a bit. Check back on Mondays for a new blog and the first Friday of every month for a free fictional short, and be sure to visit my Amazon page.