It’s been over a month since I published Prism World, my experimental fantasy book based in a 1940s era society. In that time span, I’ve given away 5 books through my Goodreads-hosted giveaway, sold one physical copy, and sold possibly a dozen digital copies. And for someone who has never before sold books to anyone other than friends, I’m feeling rather accomplished. So far, I’ve had relatively positive feedback. With two 4-star ratings (one from a Goodreads user I don’t even know!) and lots of positive feedback from friends and family, I feel that it is finally time to move on to my next project. For those who know me, it should come as no surprise that I like to juggle several stories at one time, but seeing as how Prism World seems to be doing relatively well, I have decided that it’s about time I announce a story I’ve been working on for several weeks.
Introducing Remnant Moon, the sequel to Prism World. Based 8 years after the end of Prism World, the story is told from the perspective of Scythe, Lightning’s half-brother, and centers around Leonard Patski and the govs’ vague reference to “The Order” from the end of the first book. The current overview is as follows:
“With the fall of the old government, the heroes of the revolution had hoped that the Phantoms could at last find their place in normal society. But old fears and old prejudices still run high, and the Phantoms have, instead, found themselves stuck in a world of meaningless existence, no more human in the eyes of the Elcanthan people than they had been during the days of the Phantom Legion. It has been 8 years since Scythe, Lightning’s half-brother, went in search of work to satiate his killer’s spirit. With the passing of the years, Scythe’s desire for meaning and a sense of belonging have grown, but so, too, have his urges to kill. When an unexpected encounter leads him to learn that the easy-going aristocrat, Leonard Patski, has a big secret, Scythe sets out to discover just what that secret might be, leading him deep into the world of secret societies and a plot to restore an ancient kingdom, all the while forcing him to face the memories and emotions he has long kept locked away inside him.”
Honestly, I never intended for Prism World to have a sequel. Actually, I never thought I’d publish Prism World, but that’s beside the point. The inspiration for Remnant Moon came after I finished writing the first draft of Prism World. My cousin Ashley and friend Sarah started asking me questions about what happened after the story. Where did Scythe go? What became of Lightning and Leif? What is the world like now that the rebels have overthrown the old government? With questions like that floating around in my mind, I started formulating answers. And then I got a brilliant idea. Why not write some short stories just to tie up all the loose ends?
Yeah right. Anyone who knows my writing habits would tell you that “short story” and “Lyn” don’t go in the same sentence, as I have this habit of writing too much. My “short story” for Scythe started getting longer and longer, and before I knew it, I had another novel on my hands. The narrative is reminiscent of Prism World – written in first person, past tense – but where Prism World was an experiment in narrative style and time setting, Remnant Moon is an experiment in character development. In many ways, Scythe is the most challenging character I have ever created. His constant laughing, smiling, and teasing is nothing but a mask to hide the incredible amount of bitterness and hopelessness he carries around with him. To some extent, this is obvious even despite his seemingly-happy personality, and this odd balance between his bitter internal self and his happy external self is one of the greatest challenges I have in writing about him. Plus there’s the simple fact that I have difficulty trying to imagine what a guy, particularly a guy like Scythe, might be thinking. It certainly was easier to write from the perspective of a girl.
There are other challenges to the story, too, though. Where Lightning had Leif as her primary companion throughout the story, Scythe has Elaine Claire, a sassy, serious, hot-tempered fighter who hates Phantoms with a vengeance. Lightning and Leif were both fairly simple characters to write about. With Lightning, I had the privilege of building a character, essentially, from the ground up. Lightning’s child-like ignorance and honest, protective personality made her a simple, straightforward character. Leif was an easy-going, positive complement to this simple character, and I understood both of them very well. In Remnant Moon, however, neither Scythe nor Elaine are simple characters, and both are equally bitter because of past traumas. Likewise, neither one are innocent, and everything about them seems to put them at odds with each other toward the beginning of the story. If Lightning was a lesson in character growth, these two are going to be a class all their own.
I’m hoping to receive more reviews of Prism World as time goes on and I continue to work on Remnant Moon. That way, perhaps I can learn what my mistakes were so I can continue to improve my writing. One of the big complaints Dr. Robinson had with Prism World was its “monochrome” world, which was intentional but which will also be addressed in Remnant Moon. I chose a distanced, vague view of Lightning’s world because at that place and time in her life, she would neither know nor seek to know much about the world as a whole. Lightning’s focus is more internal, and the amount of world experience she can have over the course of a year would be limited. Scythe is a character that offers me the opportunity to expand this world that I have created. The story is based 8 years after the fall of the old government, but it has been roughly 20 years since Scythe escaped the Phantom Legion. If there is a character who knows the world, it’s him.
The other complaint that I got, primarily from Dr. Robinson but also, to some extent, from Ashley and Sarah as well, is that I didn’t devote enough time to developing the minor characters. In his review of Prism World, Dr. Robinson states, “I wanted to care about the rebels, but with the exception of Alice, I didn’t get to know them, and wasn’t really touched when they died, one by one.” To be honest, this statement rather appalled me. I thought that for sure I had built them up enough to portray Lightning’s feelings toward them at that time in her life. I wasn’t surprised that no one really cared about the first rebel to die, as Lightning wouldn’t have been greatly attached to him, but the others? Yeah, this surprised me. All the same, I have taken the comment into consideration, and so one thing I mean to do in Remnant Moon is not only to expand the reader’s knowledge of the world but also of the minor characters that surround Scythe and Elaine. (And trust me, there are plenty of them).
For the moment, I consider Prism World my crowning achievement, but there is always room for changing that as I grow as a writer. In my opinion, a good writer never stops learning and improving their craft, and I certainly have a long way to go. To those who have supported me this far, thank you so very, very much! To those who want to write but don’t think they’re good enough, keep trying! I may never be a New York Times bestselling author, but I can at least enjoy writing and watching others enjoy what I have written. To me, that is the most important thing about what I do. Keep an eye out for updates on Remnant Moon in the months to come (I plan on releasing the first chapter here pretty soon) and, as always, I welcome any constructive feedback I can get.