A simple realization dawned on me this morning while I was working.
Why I’ve been having such a hard time “figuring out” Stars In Her Eyes and the Sparkstone Saga.
Stars In Her Eyes was a bit of a struggle to create. I procrastinated a lot on it. I could have had it out in February if I really wanted. Instead, its release day is in May. Part of this is because Woulds & Shoulds has been super busy lately, and it’s hard balancing two businesses (until I learn to clone myself, muahaha).
The Sparkstone Saga holds a special place in the large magical machine that is Faery Ink Press. I’m not sure where the idea originated exactly, but I knew that I wanted to write a series about a group of super powered teens at a university for hyper-intelligent young people. Originally, I wrote the first three stories as episodes for a TV show, but then decided they could be better explored as novellas. This idea, dosed with science fiction, combined with my love for folk music and another element that will not be revealed until the very, very end of the entire saga, gave birth to what it is today.
It has tons of potential. Compelling characters (I think), a witty protagonist that I think people will identify with, and references to things that I like–folk music, and science fiction.
But why, why was it so hard to write this barely 50K work of art?
It’s because, *technically*, it could be the third book in the saga. Not the first.
Stars In Her Eyes follows Ingrid as the arrives in the town of Sparkstone, in middle of nowhere Alberta. Sparkstone University is a top-secret institution that takes in and spits out some of the greatest minds in the world. But, turns out, it’s run by an alien organization known as the Collective, and they have their own agenda for the students that attend this prestigious school. Ingrid falls in with a group of students who are more than what they appear, and they’re the only thing standing up to the Collective. And the Collective is extremely interested in Ingrid. Both the Collective and Ingrid’s new friends–the Sparks–are convinced that she holds the key to the Collective completing whatever mission they have on Earth.
Among the Sparks is a girl named Sunni. And this is where the plot gets a little complicated.
See, technically, while Ingrid is at the centre of the story–she is the key to everything–Sunni (pronounced “Sonny”) is sort of the real protagonist of Stars In Her Eyes. She plays an important role in the whole saga that cannot be ignored.
We meet Sunni when she’s convinced that her life is about to end. She has the power to foresee the future from her dreams. And she’s seen her death. She’s already been through a lot with the Collective, and she’s finally figured out a significant portion of their true mission. And they know she’s figured it out, so it’s time for her to die. So why doesn’t she tell her friends why the Collective is on Earth? She’s afraid: afraid of what will happen if she does tell them, but she’s even more afraid of what she will do if she doesn’t die. She has seen a bleak future for herself in the Collective’s clutches and she would rather die than be their pawn. Her power is too great.
But she knows that Ingrid’s power is even greater than her own, even if Ingrid doesn’t know it. By dying, Sunni can help Ingrid release her potential.
Why do I always write tragic protagonists? I dunno, man.
But because Sunni’s character is quite strong, and we’re meeting her so late, this is part of why Stars In Her Eyes feels (overall) like the middle book. That’s not to say that it *should* be a middle book, however. Ingrid is coming to Sparkstone with fresh eyes, and we get to meet everybody, be introduced to the struggle, and find temporary victories and failures in the war against the alien invasion.
Sunni will have one or two prequels, I think, that precede Stars In Her Eyes. She has a complex relationship with her best friend, Misty, who is quite angry for reasons that will be explored throughout the saga. They knew each other before going to Sparkstone, and the two of them will feature heavily in the prequels, should I ever get around to writing them. 🙂
So that’s like…10 novellas in the saga, then?
Did I mention I’m ambitious?
I think the important thing before reading Stars In Her Eyes is to not look at this as just one book, one novella. It’s a small piece, a tiny window, into a larger story. One episode in a series. There is ALWAYS more going on than what is just on the pages, and I hope I’m able to convey that adequately for my readers.
And if you’re facing a similar problem with your book–not quite knowing where it stands in the greater scheme of things–do take the time to figure it out! Maybe one character is so powerful that he or she deserves another book or two to tell his or her story.
The cover reveal is less than a week away! The cover is super close to being done, like I said, we’ve been super busy with freelance stuff. So those signed up for the reveal will receive their cover tonight or more likely tomorrow. The reveal is April 2nd, 2013, and Stars In Her Eyes will be released May 13, 2013 (if all goes according to plan!), by of course, Faery Ink Press and participating retailers.
Stay tuned 🙂