Of Birthdays and New Beginnings (in Life and in Writing)


Today (well, today, as I’m writing this, the 25th) is my birthday, and it seems like a good time for new things. For new beginnings. Appropriately enough, I have only editing left as far as my first trilogy is concerned, which means it is time to start planning a new writing project.

For a long time I’ve been thinking about a prequel, but I’ve figured out a new set of stories involving a minor character from the Herezoth trilogy is a better idea. Zate Polve is some two or three years old, a sorcerer, and never seen (just mentioned) in “The Magic Council.” He has no part at all in the other books; it’s his father who’s a major character. Well, I think I need to start planning a story about Zate. That way there will be a minor connection between the two sets of novels, but the second won’t be dependent on the first. It will be sad to say goodbye to all my characters from the original trilogy, but it’s time. I know it’s time.

A story in the bud, about to blossom, just might be my favorite kind.

I remember the moments when I first realized the concepts I would develop into my trilogy. I remember the unadulterated excitement of starting each first draft. While few things can compare with holding a proof copy in your hand, or finishing a first draft, or release day, I also love this moment–the moment when the ideas are only just beginning to flow for a new story. And that’s in large part because of the adventure of the entire process. I love not knowing what will happen. I love making plans and thinking I have an idea how things might shake out only for my characters to come up and knock me flat with, “No way. I will do this instead. It’s not only truer to who I am, it’s more exciting, and you’ll like it even more than what you’d thought you’d get from me.”


I just turned twenty-seven, and well, the generalities of life as an adult are not what I expected as a kid. That’s the big thing that really hits me as I contemplate this birthday. I don’t think there’s one thing about my life that I really foresaw. I don’t have a family of my own, or a nice house. I rent a condo at present, and it’s a nice one. I can’t complain about it at all, but I would have thought I’d own my own place by now. I’m not living where I thought I’d be, or where I’d like to be. I thought I’d like my day job more than I do. But life is good! I’m about to make some changes, and change is good. Just like when I write a novel, I really don’t know what’s in store. I’m not sure what to expect. I imagine there are very few, if any, people who get what they expected out of life. And really, how boring would life be if we got what we expected? There would be no fantasy adventures like I love to read, if characters got what they wanted and expected!

So here’s to all those things we don’t expect to come our way: the joys, the triumphs, and the failures. The unexpected is interesting, it’s adventurous, and it forces us to grow even when we know that’s good for us but we’d rather not deal with that right now, thanks. Writing a novel scene by scene, plotting things out, and being shocked to figure out the direction your characters are leading you is not anything you saw coming, that’s only cool because that’s life. If anything, fiction has more constraints than life, because in fiction, things have to be explained and must make sense by the end; not so for us. There are many things in life we’ll never understand. Maybe, after all, we write not because of the adventure but because we know, all in all, we can control what we write in a way we can’t control our own lives. And I’m grateful for that lack of control. I know I would make a huge mess of things if I could control my life!


2 responses to “Of Birthdays and New Beginnings (in Life and in Writing)

  1. Nice point – how having control over everything might have the opposite effect than what you intended. Happy birthday (yesterday)!

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