I took the plunge. In the end, I write for me and this is what Me wanted to do. The backstory story I started last month (and also finished last month) felt too comfortable to leave alone. I agonized over the decision for a couple of days—and took the plunge.
I’m writing a Vistanna POV tale, tentatively called Summoning Shadows. For a novel to worm its way into my heart takes a lot of effort.
First, it bounces around in my head for awhile. My attitude is that if it’s worth my time it’ll be impossible to forget it. I couldn’t forget Vistanna. The next step was writing down notes in various files that covered everything from background to characters to locations. That led to backstory, which led to a narrative outline.
Then, I took the plunge.
The plunge was commitment in the form of setting up a Scrivener Project. Not that doing so is hard. It isn’t. It’s just the final step a story has to go through to earn my support. Vistanna earned it.
Setting up a Scrivener Project is basically a matter of a couple of clicks of the mouse and you’re ready to go (for those of you who haven’t used it). My setting up a project goes beyond that. It means transferring in the files I need for reference.
How hard is that?
The files I’d already written pertaining to Vistanna I copied and pasted. I could have dragged and dropped, but I wanted them to be actual Scrivener files. That took less than five minutes. Then, I wanted to add the Pannulus written references and maps I’d need. That was eight files. It took less than sixty seconds. I had another project open and just dragged them over. Done.
Now when writing, a single click brings up any or all of those references.
Summoning Shadows opens with a fifteen year-old’s prison-like upbringing and the unexpected encounter that changes everything. This story owes everything to the smaller story that was Masked Gift, the backstory told from a different POV. There’s a certain amount of overlap, but this new project is the bigger story.
Not that I didn’t love the tale told from Tharlise’s POV. It enabled me to examine Vistanna from a slight distance and view the events Vista didn’t know occurred. It also gave me insight into the adults involved. Regardless, it was Vistanna having the opportunity to reach for hope for the first time in her life that hooked me.
One moment was when she took her first flight on an airship and had the opportunity to view the landscape from the open observation deck. She raced ahead, Tharlise joining her moments later. Remember, the POV, the voice, is Tharlise’s…
Vistanna leaned forward to look straight down.
Oh no. After everything, to lose her if she fell would be unbearable.
She reached out, but resisted grabbing the back of Vista’s blouse. After all, the railing was almost shoulder height.
Vista frowned. “The ship is wider below us.”
“The shape enables it to move through the air easier, or something like that.”
“Like those.” Vista pointed overhead at the three clustered, huge tanks, the center one a little higher than the other two. “It’s hard to believe they don’t have to be bigger to lift something so heavy.”
“It has something to do with the kind of gas and magic and so much more I don’t understand.”
Vistanna gripped the railing and lifted her face into the breeze. “If only I could turn a spotlight upon the world below. I’d stay up here all the way to Duskspell.”
The girl did nothing but warm her heart. So much hurt there, yet still fighting. “With a light that bright you’d be able to see your gift.”
“Maybe….” Vista turned her face down and away. “I was slapped if I dared to draw attention to myself.” Her entire body sagged as if she was sliding back into the nightmare of the past.
As a Seeker she’d come into her gift as it was meant to happen. Supportive parents. Supportive teachers. Even so, it was scary to physically make contact with a person and be flooded with images she didn’t understand. The Colors of the Seeker were all about interpretation and control.
Vistanna? She was forced to suppress her dysphoric gender spirit, her unknown gift lost in the torment. Meanwhile, she was punished for who she was on the inside. More than punished. She was taught to be ashamed. Was it too late to reverse the damage?
Witnessing the wonder in Vista’s eyes at the railing demanded she believe there was.
She placed an arm around Vistanna’s shoulders and gave her a squeeze. “That won’t happen again. From now on the world is yours to explore as you. You! The real you. Hidden deep inside, you have a wonderful gift and you’re going to have the opportunity to learn everything there is about it.”