Monday, June 8, 2015

The Positive Power of Ghosts

So in the last few months, I've gone through a bit of a change for the better. Specifically, my outlook on life has become more positive as I have dragged myself out of the slime of despondency and disillusionment. That sounds vague, but suffice it to say that I had found myself in a rather dark head space for a few years. Since shortly after the beginning of 2015, I have been revitalized in almost every way: in hope, in faith, in outlook, in self-confidence.

Now, this has led to a time of deep reflection about the kinds of stories I've written. The simple fact is that my writing had become increasingly bleak. From the lighthearted Mary of the Aether, I worked my way to the much darker, more violent, but still ultimately hopeful Shadows of Tockland. From there, I descended into the bleak despair of Children of the Mechanism, which contained some of my most gruesome scenes. And finally I wound up in the savagely hopeless wasteland of Fading Man.

It was not a healthy trajectory.

Right before the sudden rediscovery of a positive outlook on life, I wrote a paranormal fantasy novel called The Vale of Ghosts. It was filled with hopeless gloom and harrowing scenes. Honestly, I didn't know to do with it, and so it sat, complete and ready to go, in a folder on my hard drive.

Well, I finally went back and did some work on it. I didn't want to gut the novel or remove its teeth, but I did want to inject it with glimmers of hope and faith and maybe clip out some of the more indulgently bleak passages.

Having done so, I am now self-publishing that novel. It is the first volume of a planned multi-volume fantasy series called The Archaust Saga. I have no idea what readers will make of it, but I think the rewrite salvaged it. It still contains some truly harrowing scenes, and it still wrestles with despair, but it is not the same story that I wrote last year. It is better in every way.

Anyway, you can read the first chapter at my website, if you'd like. Just click the book cover. The opening chapter is pretty intense.