Anne B. Walsh - Do you believe in magic?
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Anne's Randomness

Nothing's ever wasted

Not even the little twiddles you write when you're twelve years old, that you look at a year or two later and cringe, and say, "What was I THINKING?!" You'll do that a lot, if you happen to be a writer. Heaven knows I do it with the stuff I wrote in grade school, and high school, and college. Including the opening of the Dangerverse.
 
However. Hidden within the cringe-worthy descriptions, and the unrealistic ideas, and the stilted dialogue, are often the seeds of useful ideas. They just need some time to mature and grow. The world of Trycanta is one very like this, since it grew out of some wonderfully silly games and stories I used to play when I was twelve years old.
 
I won't go into too much detail about those games, both because it would bore you, oh readers, and because it would embarrass me to high heaven. Think of any game you used to play with your siblings or cousins or friends, where you were the heroes and the grownups were the villains, and you'll have the basic idea of what we got up to.
 
The difference for us was that I invented other races to be our friends, great big cats because I'd enjoyed The Jungle Books and liked the idea of living closely with animals but didn't want to use wolves or dogs because it felt like copying, and dragons because... well... dragons. Do they require another reason for existing?
 
Even the "grownup villainy" theme, to my amusement, has some utility in present-day Trycanta. On the (still unnamed) continent where the country of Dulia and its neighboring lands are located, the human society is very rigidly ordered, with adulthood not arriving until 25 and children expected to obey their parents until then.
 
The major thematic conflict for the stories set in Dulia will be order and chaos; as with the head and heart conflict in Anosir, the conclusion I'm hoping to draw by the end is that both are important and necessary. Now if I could just come up with characters who aren't my twelve-year-old fictionalizations of me and my family...
 
I grew out of the games I played with my cousins, though we would still swap stories sometimes, and I toyed with a novel set in Dulia even into my early years of college (to Sarah Pf, if you're reading this, I am SO SORRY for asking you to read that!), but the next major development to Trycanta came about with the advent of the DV.
 
Anyone who has been around the Dangerverse for a while, since the days of the Yahoo group (which does still exist, though it hasn't been used in quite a while) and Natural Life (which could be a whole set of blog posts on its own), may remember a book called Dangerous Truths, an originalization of Living with Danger, set on Trycanta.
 
While I did finish a draft of DT, and I do still have it on my hard drive (I'd even started its sequel, Joyful Wings), it hasn't gone anywhere, because it has some big plot problems, a lot of the mentioned stilted dialogue and cringe-worthy descriptions, and honestly? Because people didn't seem too thrilled with Homecoming.
 
It is not, and has never been, my desire to tell people what they should or should not read. I will only say that after all the people who've always told me how much they enjoy the DV and how much they wish it was an original, I was hoping for a warmer reception when it became one. Gripe for the day, stated, moving right along.
 
Having mentioned Homecoming, I suppose I should talk a little about it. It began as my NaNovel for 2008, but languished for three or four years unfinished on my hard drive. Every so often, I'd take it out, poke at it, and put it back again. It wasn't ready. Finally, after I'd finished and published A Widow in Waiting, suddenly it was.
 
I finished Homecoming in a rush of writing in January of 2012, and had it published just in time to take hardback copies with me to SheVaCon in February. After a great response to Widow on a website called LibraryThing, I had hopes for Homecoming, but despite giving away fifty copies in return for reviews, I received... two.
 
So, that's where things stand at the moment with Trycanta. It's the oldest universe, in Doylist terms, in which I still write today, but I'm beginning to wonder if it's also the least interesting. Is it possible I shouldn't go ahead with my plans for the other two continents? Should my planned quartet in Anosir be a trilogy, or even a duology?
 
And as for the reviewer on LibraryThing who claimed Homecoming was twice as long as it should have been, had too many characters, and was written in far too introspective a style--was she correct? Was it, despite my blog title, a waste of my time and talent? Only you, dear readers, can tell me that. I await your verdict.

6 Comments to Nothing's ever wasted:

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Anonymous on Tuesday, October 01, 2013 3:25 PM
As a writer, I think you have to find the delicate balance between what you want/need to write, and what your readers want to read. I think Homecoming was excellent and want to know more about the characters and the universe. However, there are those out there who don't care one iota about it. I think the thing to keep in mind is, you are the author. Only you can decide what to write. How others see it is their problem. Yes, you should take constructive criticism into account, but if it's not constructive, take it with a grain or more of salt. That said... Please write more in all your universes! I think you are an excellent writer, and we need more stories where family comes first and there isn't big trauma or horrific back-stories.
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Dangams on Tuesday, October 01, 2013 6:25 PM
More Trycanta is only ever a good thing. :) Also, regarding Homecoming, what I took away from it was that it was a demonstration of how to properly turn a fanfic into an original piece, unlike the EL Jameses and Cassandra Clares of this world. I suppose it may appeal to less to those not so invested in the DV (after all, we have had many years and many stories to get used to the characters, and Homecoming is just one novel), but I don't think that detracts from the quality of the novel as a whole. Essentially: I enjoyed it, please write more Trycanta. (As for what I would most like to read from the world of Trycanta, I've always wanted to see more of the characters who appeared in the short stories on TFA.)
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Chrissie on Tuesday, October 01, 2013 9:30 PM
I personally would love to see more of Trycanta- I love your writing, and currently own just about as many of your books/writings as a nearly-broke college student can. I need more good books to spend my last couple of dollars on! (or maybe to persuade my parents to buy for Christmas presents...)
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Yuliya on Tuesday, October 01, 2013 9:51 PM
I decided to comment, and then started to think about what I wanted to say. The verdict? This review is going to be LONG. I really like the Trycanta universe, and would gladly see more of it. (Speaking of which, I will shortly add another review to your previous Trycanta post with a comment-question) However, I do have to agree that lately, all your works are a bit too ... introspective is as good as description as any. I actually like your style in your earlier Dangerverse novels (they are novels, no question) more than in the last couple. In Facing and Suppressing danger, it's too over-thought. I really like the plot, and everything, but the style is a little off (for me, at least). I've actually bought all of your originals, and collections and collaborations. So I can't wait for Killdeer. But, as I was saying, In Homecoming, I think it would have been more suspenseful if you hadn't included that scene from the other point of view - I believe it gave too much away. The scene itself was innocuous, but it made me sympathize with the other side, and altogether made the big reveal at the end fall a little flat. I would absolutely love to see more Trycanta, it sounds very intriguing. I would especially like to see more of the mazor society. Also, seeing the world through the eyes of the other races would be very interesting. BTW, I don't know if you ever finished the stories on TBC, or have them available elsewhere. I only found them through the Wayback Machine (Internet archive) and wasn't even able to see all the chapters. On the topic of seeing your DV characters in originals, I really liked what you did in your short story on fiction press(the one with the Nameless King), and I liked the Widow in Wating, which had original characters. In Homecoming however, I kept trying to place who was who, and this distracted me a bit from the story itself. I'[m not against it though, I just think that in Homecoming, it wasn't done gracefully.
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Dawn on Thursday, October 03, 2013 7:13 PM
I think it was done plenty gracefully. If we were new readers, we wouldn't have even noticed. We were only distracted because we knew they were DV characters and were trying to figure it out. (Speaking of which, it took me half the book to figure out that Ron =/= Ron.) I also liked all the references to the twelve gods, and the character play there, and I would be interested in reading more about Trycanta.


Hannah on Friday, September 26, 2014 3:00 PM
I will go on record as saying that I would buy anything you've written should you chose to publish it in any format and am seriously requesting "Homecoming" and "The Widow in Waiting" for Christmas. "Dangerous Truths" and "Joyous Wings" both sound fantastic and I'd love to read them for real. I am also vaguely disappointed that "Elemental Heirs" won't be going anywhere; I thought it sounded excellent. You are the author and it's your choice but please don't let a few critics ruin the work you're doing; you're doing it very well and getting better with the day.
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