January 23, 2012

Carrying a Theme through Several Generations

by Toni V. Sweeney

Thanks for inviting me, Anna Kathryn.  Wish I had more of my new WIP done.  It’d be a little more in tune with your Western theme.  It’s called (tentatively) The Lily and the Shamrock and is set in Nebraska.  However, I’ve only gotten through Chapter One, so guess I’d better concentrate on my latest release and talk about it. 

So, here goes.  Ahem…

One thing about writing about a dynasty--it covers a lot of territory and a whole lot of people...centuries of events...millennia of generations...  I took the easy way out.  I decided to write about the beginning and the end of a dynasty--the rule of the kan Ingans of the Emeraunt Galaxy.  My series, The Chronicles of Riven the Heretic (Bloodseek, Blood Curse, A Singing in the Blood, and Barbarian Blood Royal, and soon to come, The Man from Cymene) told the kan Ingans' origins.  My series, The kan Ingan Archives, told of their inglorious end thirty-one hundred years later.  The series didn't start out that way, but--as usual with characters with which I have more than one dealing, familiarity bred contempt—and Aric kan Ingan and his Black Shield friends yanked the book out of my hot little hands, and, in their superiorly militant way, took over.  If they'd let me handle things, the story might have ended differently; then again, knowing my penchant for Unhappily-Ever-After endings, it might have been worse!   As it stands now…

Family sagas are a lot of work because you have to keep track not only of the characters' names and physical appearances, but also of their ages, especially if each novel encompasses a number of years.  Sometimes it's easier to make a tangible chart, a family tree or spreadsheet with all the relationships, ages, etc., so it can be referred to from time to time.  In Sinner, the main character, Aric, goes from age twenty to thirty; the second novel (tentatively titles Exile) opens ten years later and covers five years of his life.  In the third novel, at the age of 46, Aric returns to his  home.  When Aric left, the woman he will eventually wed was six-years-old.  When he meets her again in the third book, she's twenty-two, and his decision to marry her scandalizes his best friend because he's now twice her age.  To add insult to injury, she’s also the best friend’s niece and he’s only five years older than she though he’s fifteen years younger than Aric!  Confused yet?  Age plays a very important part in these stories so I had to keep close tabs on how old everyone was and when.


What is all this leading to?  To the promo for my new book. Sinner, the story of a man who falls in love with the wrong woman. (Don't they all?)  A man who was destined to be the most powerful person in the galaxy until Cupid skewered him with one of those little darts.  A man accused of committing a crime and unable to prove himself innocent because to do so would reveal he's committed an ever greater crime.  It's got plenty of love, sex, and violence.  A real winner!

Check it out.

Blood Sin is available from Double Dragon Publishing. Buy it now HERE

Toni V. Sweeney

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Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Hi, Toni. Thanks for being my guest. Great ideas. I haven't written generations yet, but I've written a brother/sister sequel. And yes, you have to remember lots of things, from eye color to age.

Callie said...

Hey Toni,

Good post. I'm on the second sequel to A Run For Love, and I spend a lot of time adding and subtracting to make sure I have all the ages right.

Good luck with your new book.

Katherine said...

Hi Toni,
I'm just starting to plot out a series that involves multiple characters. It's not generational, but you give really great tips on how to keep names, ages, physical characteristics, etc. straight as I work on the series.

Thanks for such a timely post. :o)

Ally Broadfield said...

I can see how generations would be quite difficult to keep track of. I don't have anything that complicated planned out yet, but I'm filing away your tips for future use. Best of luck with your current release.

marybelle said...

The insight is very interesting. I'd feel like I was juggling with my eyes shut.