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Taking a Risk When the Story Demands May 14, 2012

Posted by shannonmuir in analysis, Books, characters, fiction, plot, Willowbrook Novels, Willowbrook Saga, Writing.
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A writer friend of mine recently took a look at EVERYTHING CHANGES, Book 1 of THE WILLOWBROOK SAGA – I’m hoping to release Book 2, DOWN TO THE ROOTS, at the end of the month still but my schedule has had a lot of unexpected twists so follow The Willowbrook Novels site for updates – and this writer friend basically described the book as “creepy” but guessed that was the intent.

My response?

I said that was good and that meant that the book worked.

While EVERYTHING CHANGES has elements of coming of age and romance, it also is a very unsettling and at times uncomfortable examination of dysfunctional families amidst these elements. That is why I have always been most comfortable with the “family saga” label as that is what it is first and foremost. As I myself admit in the EVERYTHING CHANGES introduction, parts of this have been – and will be – very uncomfortable to write. They are not things I endorse in my real, personal life. The other challenge I’ve had is writing so to examine the issues and not to judge; I want to just paint the picture and leave it up to the reader to analyze. For me in order for writing to be effective and carry meaning, both writer and reader must participate equally (this doesn’t apply to escapist fiction, where the reader surrenders to going on the writer’s ride, and that has its place too but it isn’t what I write).

It takes a lot of bravery to let the characters “do the driving,” to quote my friend. For me though, that is part of the thrill of it, even if the ride is bumpy.



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