The notion of tone has been weighing heavily on my mind of late as I work to finish the last book in the Meep Sheep series. A touchstone for those books, for me, has been that they were not dumbed down but were accessible to most ages. I strove to write and release something that wasn’t like the rest of my work but was something that hearkened to a time where stories could be dark and a little dangerous but were not offensive.
That was my hope.
Now, was that why I started writing the first story? Not at all. I started because I had an idea and I had what I hoped was a fun story to tell. To me, that’s the perfect way to start with writing. I know I want the story to be what it needs to be and then worry about the rest later. I mean, I definitely worry over things and context and all that overall I try to let the story do its thing.
That hasn’t been as easy this time around.
With this last book in the series I am tying up loose ends and sending things off into the setting sun. It’s a much darker, much more ‘mature’ book in that it’s about the fact that you can’t always wish away your troubles and that some things need to be faced and dealt. It’s a book about finding your place, about letting go of your past. And its a book about finding the magic in a place where it never seemed to exist before – like yourself.
I am too close to the book to know how I feel about it completely but the tone is definitely a concern. This is a book about a change, a cataclysmic change and a war. As such It needs to be dark, and the reader needs to feel that darkness. If there’s no danger for the characters then there’s no depth to the story. I just need to make sure I am walking the line and not turning what had been fantasy tales into horror stories. I think I am on that edge. It’s dark, darker than the other two books, but it’s not cruel, and that’s a big part of it to me. I am not trying to make the reader upset or trying to punish characters. I am just trying to serve the story.
My hope is that my choices work for the best.
I will round out a lot of the hard edges in the edit. I just want to make sure I don’t alienate people who have been with me for two books. That’s an investment of time and interest and the last thing I want is to betray their trust.
Heavy is the head fat with stories.
I really need to finish this thing.