Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Trilogy of Perspectives by Jay Posey (GUEST POST)

A Trilogy of Perspectives

My latest book Dawnbreaker brings the Legends of the Duskwalker trilogy to a close, and a funny thing happened on my way to the end …

Or, actually, I guess a funny thing happened way back at the very beginning.

The Duskwalker trilogy didn’t start as a trilogy. It started with a book (titled Three), and it was a story that I thought was about a man named Three. It was supposed to be all about his quest to shepherd a dying woman named Cass and her young son Wren across an urban wasteland to the boy’s father in a distant oasis city.

I was of course planning for both Wren and Cass to be fully fleshed-out characters with their own thoughts and desires and decisions and actions, but Three was supposed to be Three’s story.

So I was as surprised as anyone when I discovered one day that I wasn’t just writing that one novel about that one man; I was actually writing a three books about three people - Three, Cass, and Wren. And though I hadn’t originally intended for Wren or Cass to step to the forefront and take quite so much charge of their stories, it was clear very early on that I didn’t actually have any say in the matter.

Cass and Wren both had stories they wanted told and they were going to do what they had to do regardless of my plans. So it turned out that the events of the first book weren’t the end of anything at all. Those events were just the beginning steps of the greater journeys that each of them had to undertake.

It was exciting to realize that, but also a little frightening. I liked the idea of getting a broader perspective on the Duskwalker world, but that meant I had to get used to the idea of jumping into more points-of-view than I’d been planning on.

Three had exploded into my brain nearly fully formed; I felt like I knew him backwards and forwards. I knew I could trust him, and I knew no matter what situation he got into, if I just sat with him long enough, he’d figure out exactly what he needed to do. Cass and Wren were both a different story, for different reasons.

I didn’t know everything about them the first time they appeared on the page. I felt like I met them the same time Three did, and they unfolded themselves to me in a much slower fashion. That being the case, every chapter I wrote from one of their perspectives felt like I was edging forward in the dark, testing every step to see if I was on the right path or if I was about to plummet to my doom.

The major challenge with writing Wren came from his age; he was about seven years old at the beginning of the trilogy. But he was also unusually perceptive and insightful for his age, and had also had a pretty rough childhood, so he was more seasoned than the average kid. It was tough trying to walk that balance between child-like innocence and old-beyond-his-years wisdom that comes with hard life experiences. It was also a challenge to transition from Three and Cass’s perspectives as adults to see the world and their circumstances through a child’s eyes.

Cass, on the other hand, presented a stranger sort of challenge for me. As a man writing a woman, I found myself constantly questioning whether I was taking all the “right things” into account. I didn’t have that same mental hang up writing Three or Wren; after all, I was a young boy at one point and now I’m (arguably) a grown man. I felt like I was letting Cass be the woman she was, that I was honoring the decisions she would actually make, and not the ones I thought she would make. But early on, I didn’t have the same level of comfort writing from her perspective as I did writing the others. Oddly, it had less to do with what I was actually writing, and more of what I thought other people might think about what I was writing. It took me a while to shake that.

Also, I’ve always considered Cass to be an amazingly strong woman, but when we first meet her in Three, she is at the lowest, weakest, most vulnerable point of her life. It was a challenge to portray that level of vulnerability while still doing justice to the steel that I knew she had in her.

The good news is, I grew a lot more comfortable with Cass and Wren as the trilogy progressed and I feel like Dawnbreaker finally tells the complete story that I unwittingly started all those years ago with Three. Reaching the end of a trilogy is a bitter-sweet accomplishment, but I’m glad I had Three, Cass, and Wren with me, guiding me along the way.

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About the Author

Jay Posey is a narrative designer, author, and screenwriter by trade. He started working in the video game industry in 1998, and has been writing professionally for over a decade. Currently employed as Senior Narrative Designer at Red Storm Entertainment, he’s spent around eight years writing and designing for Tom Clancy’s award-winning Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six franchises.

A contributing author to the book Professional Techniques for Video Game Writing, Jay has lectured at conferences, colleges, and universities, on topics ranging from basic creative writing skills to advanced material specific to the video game industry.

You can find him online at his website, jayposey.com, as well as on Twitter (@HiJayPosey).

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About the Book

Dawnbreaker (Legends of the Duskwalker, #3)
by Jay Posey

Wren is living in Greenstone under the temporary care of Charles and Mol, and the protection of Chapel. Unable to determine the fate of his mother and those he left behind in Morningside, Wren believes there is nothing left to do but wait for Asher’s final blow … until a man named Haiku walks into the Samurai McGann, looking for Three.

After learning of Three’s fate, Asher’s ascension, and Wren’s gift, Haiku offers his help, and together they set out to find the remnants of House Eight and convince them to help.

As Cass and the few who survived the fall of Morningside face overwhelming odds to escape Asher and the Weir, they realize it is impossible…until their daring and probably suicidal plan to strike turns out to have surprising results and unexpected discoveries.

9 comments:

  1. I love it when a story explodes on you and takes up more space than you intended. I've got a couple of those, and the characters keep blowing my mind. Too fun.

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  2. It's amazing how much a story can change on you while getting it down on paper, isn't it? Glad things came together for you. And thanks for co-hosting this month's IWSG.

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  3. Congratulations, Jay!! I love when stories take on lives of their own:)

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  4. I love that in stories I read. I always want to follow them further into their lives. This series sounds great.

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  5. I love this series and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all ends. And it sounds like Dawnbreaker is Wren's story, so that should be cool.

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  6. Dashing cover, dashing writer.

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  7. Ooo, more amazing books. Congrats!

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  8. Another series I am behind on. Great post, always interesting to hear how the characters can take on a life of their own to get their own stories told as well!

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  9. It's amazing where our writing and characters take care. Expect the unexpected!

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