August has been a rewarding month for Visionary Fiction, first with Jodine Turner winning Honorable Mention in the Global eBook Awards and now with my book, Jessie’s Song, taking home the bronze medal in the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. May more VF authors win awards and bring recognition to this uplifting and thought provoking genre.
Getting this award happened at the right time as I’ve had a difficult writing month. Following is the latest post from my personal site. I think it’s a perfect match as it demonstrates how visionary fiction authors grow alongside their characters.
It’s been a tough month for me as a writer. I don’t need to get into the details here, but what I will say is that my psychological resolve has been tested, and I’ve come out of it stronger. As usual, mindful awareness meditation saved me.
I’m currently plotting my new novel, The True Vanessa and editing The Sixth, the second book of The Spheral Series. I’ll also be re-releasing Unison sometime in September. It’s going through another edit. There’s nothing wrong with the book. There aren’t any typos, structural problems or anything that would come back and embarrass me. I felt it needed a formal edit to make it the best it could be. And since I’m working on the second book, I see the potential for this series to turn into something big.
I’ve been asked which of my books is my favorite. After two published books, five first drafts and two screenplays that I’ll be turning into novels, I view Unison as my Magnus Opus. It’s the most involved story I’ve ever written, and I still can’t believe I’m its author. I didn’t think I was good enough to pull it off when it unexpectedly blew up into an epic. I had to make charts, graphs, create new worlds and cultures and come up with a scientific concept that connected to my visions. It took lots of research for me to explain it clearly. And even after that, I thought it was too crazy of a concept to present to readers. Being that I was always on the eccentric side, I continued on.
Getting the book to publication took almost everything out of me. I wondered if it was worth all the energy—and money—that I was investing in it. Upon completion, I knew that it was. The characters and story won me over. And now that I’m editing the second book in the series, I’m even more determined. The characters feel so real to me.
Damon, the protagonist, stands for a personal ideal I’m continuously striving for. He’s my hero, epitomizing the power and meaning behind the hero’s journey. Becoming Damon was my own call to adventure, his challenges forced me to jump out of the proverbial box. Each time I wanted to jump back in, he’d throw me another challenge to keep me going. When I felt like giving up, I’d take a day off to rest. A new scene would then come to me, and I’d rush over to my computer to get it down.
I’ve grown both spiritually and as a writer. I learned that the story isn’t about me. It’s about the characters and their journeys as presented to me. It’s about letting go and allowing them to develop organically. I heard a Stephen King interview yesterday where he discussed how he created his characters. He allows them to develop on their own. Although I’m a plotter, it works the same way for me. Inspiration comes from the same place, irrespective of one’s writing style. In Unison, Sephroy, the dingy innkeeper with rotting teeth, was supposed to be a minor character. He now has a starring role because I let him speak for himself. I’ll never forget the day it happened. I jumped out of my chair in disbelief. Sephroy will speak even more in the second book as he shares the narration with Damon and Flora.
A major lesson I’ve learned through all of my writing experiences is that writing to the best of my ability requires faith. It requires that I humble myself and surrender to inspiration. I trust that it will give me a better story than anything I can come up with. It always has in the past, which is why I have faith that it will continue to do so.
Eleni Papanou is the author of two novels. Read more about them at her website.