Friday, January 07, 2005

more questions!

I've made a good start on chapter 22, with 2123 words this morning. It's been a quiet day at work, as Fridays often are. This one is also below freezing with a howling wind, so not that many people are hanging around shopping downtown today. I'd have liked nothing better than to stay home as well, I can assure you.

But on the other hand, I like this morning's words. Cae has confronted her hospital-ridden father with the facts of her adoption; she's had it out with Ramon's father, who helped engineer the whole baby swapping thing; and Ramon himself is in shock, and feeling sorry for her. Lots of hot and emotional yelling, lots of icy cold cutting words, ooh yeah.

I promised myself that if I would get my words out of the way in the morning, the afternoon would belong to Shann. Shann will be the main character in the Christian fantasy I am just starting to play with. And that brings up a very interesting question for me to examine.

I know how to develop religions for secular fantasies. It seems like it would be relatively easy. If you can make it hang together in the scope of the story, you can be pretty outlandish and still be believable.

This is a Christian fantasy. I want (need?) one of my religions to sort of parallel Christianity, but it's a fantasy, so I don't want to just plunk my own beliefs straight in and force the story around them, either. How can I make a believable and yet not real-world faith for my characters?

In Kathy Tyers' Firebird series, which is Christian SF in an alternate universe, she develops her true religion around a basic pre-messianic Judaism, with specific differences. Karen Hancock, in *The Light of Eidon* (book one of a new fantasy series from Bethany House), introduces the main character as he is about to say his brotherhood vows, having desired to know God (Eidon) all his life. How he discovers he is in a false religion is a main part of the book.

What guidelines did Kathy and Karen use to develop these religions? Gulp. I've decided to stick my neck out and ask. Karen's website offers email contact, and an offer to answer questions, so I've emailed her. Kathy makes it less easy to contact her, but does give a mailing address on her website and does indicate willingness to correspond that way. Her letter is ready to send.

I'm really nervous about this. I feel like a snotty little kid sidling up to a big, popular kid at school and asking favors. Why should they care? Why should they take any time, or be other than condescending? I'm not in their league, folks. They've been PUBLISHED, and I'm one of the thousands (?) of wanna-bes that clutter their lives. But you know? I'm doing it anyway. I'm being as polite and professional as I know how to be, keeping the letter short and specific...what else can I do?

Oh, yes. Shann and I hung out this afternoon, and I've learned more about him and about his world. I've got a basic map, but I don't really want to start sticking names on places until I figure out at least a little something about the various languages, and what they sound like.


Tina said...

Oh oh! I know I'm going to struggle with the same when the time comes. The whole idea scares me to death. I can't wait to hear what they both reply.

Ruth said...

Lol! "A snotty little kid sidling up to the big popular kid . . ." You imagine yourself in the worst possible light, for sure. First of all, I sincerely doubt that they have thousands of people emailing them. Secondly, they themselves know what it's like to be a pre-published writer, and I doubt they'll see you as a "snotty little kid." It's much more likely that they'll see you as a highly intelligent and gifted student with great potential who wants to ask a teacher a really relevant and deep question that just happens to align with the teacher's interests and which the teacher would probably love a chance to discuss if any of some other less diligent students would just show a glimmer of interest. ;)

Valerie Comer said...

Umm, yes, RuthAnne. That is just what I meant to say: Highly gifted and intelligent instead of snotty little kid. Lol. Well, I'll let you all know when (if) I get some response back. I'm sure there will be a hint or two of which of the two stances they will take towards me. (Middle ground? You think?) Thanks for the chuckles.

Tina, this is the part that has always scared me about writing Christian fantasy, so I have to get it dealt with early on. If I can't solve THIS, there will be little need to do the rest of the prep work, because there won't be a story at all. (Don't even THINK about the fact that I may want to do this again, with a DIFFERENT fantasy book or series, with a DIFFERENT quasi-Christian religion. Yipes.)