Influences & Continuity

Interesting things about influences, you never quite know where things come from until they show up. Some of my biggest influences to my writing came much later in life, when I read Ursula K Le Guin, and Octavia Butler. However, Jacqueline Carey had a massive influence on me as well.

What they have are magnificent prose, eloquent, well timed character arcs, character development that sometimes takes several books, etc. But often, it was the stand-alones that impressed me the most Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, Fledgling, and the Sundering duology.

From my younger years, Orson Scott Card, Isaac Asimov, and Frank Herbert were main stays where authors like Judy Blume weren’t initially allowed. (I’ll just say that I grew up in an evangelical household and leave it at that.) Thankfully, we were allowed to watch reruns of Star Trek, which was another huge influence.

Another huge influence were comic books. I knew Sandman and Batman way more than just about anything else. I’ve tried to read Sandman now that I’m older and I’m a little surprised I understood what was happening or some of the themes, which were extremely adult and real world focused for a sheltered kid from Kansas.

So it might come as a really huge surprise when, in college, I became completely engrossed in Live Action Role Play for about seven years of my life.

When crafting a story, I’ve never much considered market or tropes. Honestly, until recently, I’ve always had a hard time nailing that down. Nor do I follow story beats or arc patterns very well and folks accustom to those would probably say my writing is sloppy.

What I do have a knack for, as it turns out, is stringing a bunch of small stories together. In a serialized fashion that make up a whole story. Like TV shows, or web serials, and even LARP.

It’s a natural format for me. I think it also fits my OCD around completing things or giving each moment a somewhat natural ending. Though sometimes, I do leave things open, like many of life’s unanswered questions. Such as: “Who left the seat up?” and “Where am I going and why am I in this hand basket?” I’m being cheeky, but often if I’ve left something open or didn’t quite wrap up where something came from and why, it’s because, like life sometimes, I don’t know and I want to give myself time to figure it out or even better yet, create something interesting around it that will be more satisfying than saying: “I don’t know.” or speculating, which becomes canon and then I have to figure out how to make it work or figure my way out of it. (Which can be fun, but also really hard.) Which brings me to continuity.


This is the bane of pretty much anyone writing a story. A recent experience with this was writing a short story about Greg’s childhood. I knew the main arc of his story, what happened to him and why, but I also added these little tantalizing details in there that on the surface contradict one another. On top of the fact that in three books of the Saint George Chronicles, the stories have been extremely Xavior-centric. Gregor acts as the observer a lot, or similar to an anthropologist that has a sudden encounter with something he’s studied all his life but never experienced.

The end of book three is a tipping point. While Greg is more himself, he still doesn’t talk about his past much. But his past shows up. And it will show up even more in books four and five.

This is where continuity gets really really tricky, and while writing the first three books, I had to figure out Xavior’s family, his relationship with his parents and siblings, and even his siblings children. I have a rough family tree, when dragons were born, which dragon had them, what year, etc.

That was more fun than figuring out Gregor, because he’s human and has an ability which was important in the moment and even drives some of the plot. That was important while I was writing. His past, or a lot of details weren’t, because Greg was very much acting like: “That’s enough about me, now what about you?”

Plus, explaining Xavior from Greg’s wide eye point of view was the point. Now that most of the universe and dragons in the universe are established. Greg’s past becomes a lot more interesting. The stories coming up are about how someone survives with less. How a kid can grow into a man that has empathy and loyalty when there was a good deal of time that he was around adults that didn’t model those traits.

All of this is to say, I hope you all are ready for an emotional ride with Greg in the near future. He’s finally opening up to me, and while a lot of it isn’t pretty, it will explain a lot.

I have titles for the four and fifth book, but I’m not going to share them just yet. Hopefully soon. When my brain settles and lets me work on a project instead of having these small snippets come to me while I’m writing something else.

If you’d like to check out that short story about Gregor Lyndon and his early years, you can find it HERE on my Facebook page.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: