Personal blog of author and artist Lynn Daniels.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Fall of The Elders: A Note From The Author


 I published the very first piece of this project exactly three and a half years ago. The stories have come a long way since then.
When I began writing my short stories, I thought I could write quick, neatly wrapped snapshots of characters that I had thought of for years. What happened was something completely different.

I started thinking about the characters. I thought it was a good idea to stick with the trend of showing different sides of them. It began with Oscar, a tough, temperamental guy who showed that he could be compassionate. I moved on to Manuel, a feisty man who wanted to prove that he was just as intelligent and cunning as his colleagues. I had Sunjata, a well-meaning, pious man who harbored secret goals of attaining higher influence. Then there was Hiroma, a balanced intellectual who often struggled to live up to his own personal expectations. Finally, there was Yousef, a secretive man who seemed to be the most put together of the group, but may have been the most troubled of them all.

In the beginning, I wanted the stories to focus on themes of power, strength and influence. I wanted to write stories where each man had the goal of wanting to rule the world.

I realized around the fourth story (Forsaken Soul) that this would not be the case. The theme that became prominent was one of failure. Each of these five men had their own personal goals, and all but one of them failed to achieve his ultimate dream. The one successful one, Oscar, realized that he had to make a major sacrifice to get what he wanted, and the thing he wanted didn't pan out as he hoped it would.

Another major element turned out to be love. I remember writing this line in the story, Encroachment. "For most of those Elders, a woman managed to challenge their worldview; some for the better and some for the worse." At the time I wrote this line, my intention was to have Sunjata be that lone exception, because he never had a romantic interest. In actuality, the lone exception is Hiroma. Though Hiroma found love and his demise came partially as a result of a lost love, a woman never challenged his beliefs. Meanwhile, Sunjata's challenge came from his interactions with Chloe (It is a good time to reiterate that while she isn't named in any of the short stories, she serves as the narrator in all five stories).

I never expected to have love be a primary theme in these stories. I don't write romance. I have never had the urge to write romance. I wouldn't classify any of these stories to be romance. Most of these stories are about what never was or what could have been. I was writing about strong, battle tested men. These were men, for the most part, who didn't believe in love and never looked for love. I couldn't just turn them all into chivalrous romantics who would move heaven and Earth to fight for the women they loved. I decided to stay in the lane that I think a lot of people take. I wrote about men who struggled with showing their feelings because they had this underlying belief that doing so would make them appear to be weak. The thing we learn as human beings is that no one wants to get their heart broken. The only thing worse than that is having the people we work and live with bear witness  to that tough time in our lives.

As with all of my fiction works, the presence of complex, human personality is constant. I realize I am writing about Gods. I realize that I am writing about Gods who have lived, or wish to live as normal humans. Though the Gods in this collection learned to live above and away from humanity, I still wanted them to be less than perfect. A stereotype of God characters is that they are perfect, well-adjusted beings and that they can never be wrong or make bad decisions unless they are inherently evil. They are men who have to work though getting what they want without destroying themselves -- or each other in the process.

This isn't the only collection of short stories. This is merely phase one. My goal for phase two is to focus on the other Gods and Goddesses who also appear in Living Through the Glass and Prisoner of Castigation. The clues to their backgrounds are more prominent in Prisoner of Castigation. It is my job to come at these characters with a different perspective because like most of The Elders, they began their lives as mortals and became Gods later. Unlike The Elders, I'm not looking at telling stories of their lives before they became Gods. I want to tell the stories about what happens to them after the chaos settles and they are the ones left to be in charge of keeping watch over Cerebes. Only time will tell what happens between now and when I finish that next collection.

If you are interested in Fall of the Elders, you can purchase a copy for $2.99 at Amazon, or you can read for free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription. Reviews are encouraged and they would be greatly appreciated.


Post a Comment