I'm asking myself right now where to go in terms of writing and the Children of Sophista Book Series. One of the goals I had early in the development of the series was to provide a bit of empathy for the difficulties of being a kid that is #gifted and #talented and to promote a bit of understanding between those inside and outside that community. A #scifi / #fantasy platform can be an excellent way to do that in that an entertaining story can be illustrative without pontificating in a boring way. I really haven't seen much of any support coming back from that community, and I wonder if I have made a tragic mistake and should have mainstreamed my writing to reach more people. To me, it would be a lot more boring to write mainstream stuff but sitting in the doldrums is not very fun either. So feel free to comment while I climb to the top of a tree to take my bearings on what should be done next. #gtchat #OE
Friday, August 14, 2015
In “The Owl from Oblivion”, I broach a number of difficult subjects that may make a few “polishers” of gifted students wonder why I would want to put such details into a book potentially read by gifted tweens and teens. One instance, in which the highly gifted character, Syon, is repeatedly brutalized by alcoholic parents, might shock some sensitive individuals. So why include it?
I took a journey discovering giftedness, specifically 2e giftedness, a few years ago. As part of that journey, I spent a few months as guest on an underground bulletin board for gifted teens. One thing I immediately noticed was how terrible life was for these gifted teens who were totally unknown in terms of giftedness by any school or gifted organization. Their life was bad not because of the stereotypical “not having enough challenging work”. They had that bit of trivia (for them) covered by loading a challenging problem into their minds before school to mentally work on during the school day.
The problems they had ranged from parents who didn’t want to acknowledge giftedness (even their own) and thus tried to persuade them that they were not gifted to more dire situations, such as a divorced dad telling his son that his son’s “weirdness” was chasing away the dad’s girlfriends. After a few months, I decided to move away from that bulletin board, because the problems were too intense for me. One thing I did gain was an appreciation of gifted teens coming together to help fellow gifted teens who were suffering under more severe problems. In many ways, this formed the core of the narrative that I used with the character Syon in that though Syon was abused, his friends and some of their adult friends joined to help him escape his situation. Though Syon is a fictionalized rendering of a life that is hopefully more extreme than anyone really experiences, even through the science fiction tale and setting, some bits of his life ring true with reality. In a sense, Syon is the speaker for the gifted tween and teen who is undiscovered, living below the radar in a terrible situation.
Monday, August 3, 2015
A fantasy writer must find ways to suspend your disbelief when presenting you a fantastic yarn deviating from the mundane reality in which we are all affixed. The real goal, when not stated so abstractly, is to touch your heart in a way that vests your emotions in the characters so that literally your psyche rides the character’s wave through the entire storyline.
Harry Potter does this by using two common storyline tools: a child living in ordinary circumstances suddenly swept by magic and family history into a fantastical word, and the story’s contact with and relevance to the real world. One of the key accomplishments of Harry Potter is that it maintains contact with the real world, giving it charm and relevance to the events many people experience in their lives. It is a stealth how-to manual of sorts, especially for young people, who have limited experience with the baffling world created by adults. Even adults can remember when they came in contact with their first real world event, stabbing their childhood, perhaps even inflicting a mortal blow on it. As adults, we often have unresolved issues from our childhood, and we long for that safe, protected refuge that Harry Potter provides, where we can once again examine the life choices we have made.
When I wrote “The Owl from Oblivion”, I chose to take the reverse approach to this fantasy trope by watching the world through the eyes of immortal children whose lives come crashing down into reality, focusing on things that destroy their innocence. The children start out as immensely powerful, living in a fantasy-like approximation of the real world. As real world issues arise, including people feeling these children are a threat, the children are forced to make adult decisions they are ill-prepared to make, and their mistakes cause the destruction of their supernatural existence. In Harry Potter, one of the more moving threads occurred when the children had to erase their family existence in order to protect their families from the dangers of their magical existence. In a sense, they are running away from home.
By contrast, in “The Owl from Oblivion”, immortal, genius children come crashing down into reality, losing all but a few defensive powers. Just like real world children, they must face crushed expectations, the randomness of what family they are born or adopted into, and the outcast nature perhaps a talented child might experience. For these children, adulthood and its associated quelling of childhood issues will never come. What will they do about their mortal friends? Will they be forced to watch them die over and over again—generation after generation—as they live on to face whatever pleasures or horrors the future world will bring—remaining children and potentially stripped of their originating families by death? As these children embody immortality, the most sought-after elixir of humanity, what will humanity do to them to obtain it? Now that they are part of real families, those families all have dramas gripping them, sometimes with tragic consequences. What will become of the children when severe human tragedy hits? When extraterrestrials sympathetic to the children’s cause arrive, will they improve the children’s situation or simply call more attention to them as a threat to be dealt with? Can humanity ever be trusted?
For many of humanity’s problems there are no simple solutions. There are only strategies for coping and moving forward. Read “The Owl from Oblivion” to see how these magical, immortal children, gradually being crushed by reality, are able to cope with tragedy and perhaps survive human treachery.
Sunday, August 2, 2015
Here is a teaser from the chapter, "The Sun Gods Never Forget" in Book #5, "The Owl from Oblivion". Click on the image to zoom it up for easier reading.
The #publication date for Book #5, "The Owl from Oblivion" is this Monday, August 3rd. Book #5 is different from books #1 - #4 in that if you haven't read the previous books of the series, you will still understand about 80% of the book. This book might be more intense than you expect. I didn't hold back much on this one compared to the previous ones. You can read the first 6 chapters here: Click here to read sample