Just listening to the playlist I created for the upcoming Dragon Core series and finishing final edits on Analysis: Book 12 in the Metatron’s Army Series.
I need to remind myself I have upcoming projects as I wind down this series. It’s been with me so long I occasionally feel a twinge of anxiety about it ending.
As I wind down the series, two elements have taken center stage.
Reveals. In coming along on a journey that traversed thirteen installments, readers of the series have put their trust in me.
The nature of the story necessitated this format where each book in the series is like a chapter in the life of the main character, who was born in one universe, raised in another before returning to her home universe to fulfill her destiny.
To end a century’s old war and save a race of energy beings which are not always complimentary objectives.
My focus in these final books is to ensure I share various secrets and individual and collective character motivations that reveal the numerous plots within the plot in a way that honors that trust while not revealing too much at one time.
I need to keep the reader entertained – and guessing.
Relationships. Relationships between a variety of characters definitely take center stage in these final books for the simple reason I need to answer the question Then what?
Through much of the series, the characters have worked together for a variety of common goals that included
- training to do the jobs they need to do
- doing those jobs to the best of their ability while continuing to grow as individuals
- protecting each other and themselves while keeping their eye on the overall objective.
Having something in common does not equal compatibility though I have created characters who not only respect each other, they generally get along well, even as they often work at cross purposes.
Alien V. Culture. Most of the characters have grown up in a universe where different species are akin to what humans would consider a different culture.
It’s just no big deal to have different physiology or physical characteristics that make you stand out.
That doesn’t mean the different species trust each other, even as they work together for a common purpose. Focusing on how those relationships evolve and transform throughout the series has been fun and something I only had an overarching understanding of.
I knew the overall goal but not what any specific character(s) would do to fulfill that goal.
I’ve had the joy of allowing characters to evolve in such a way as to transform from being a minor background character to a main character that contributes significantly to the plot and the saga.
I didn’t plan for these changes, they just happened as the story progressed and I got to know certain characters better.
I also need to deal with interdimensional relationships as I’ve brought people from Earth to the Vetria system.
“Look, can we file this under the Light Beings don’t understand humans category and move on to the reason you are in my apartment?”
“For the moment.”
Fuck. He so did not want to get roped into the help the Light Beings understand the subtle nuances of intimate relations.
There is also the necessity of addressing how characters move from one type of a relationship to another.
- From being team players to individual leaders as their careers transform
- From reporting to someone to becoming a peer as the roles evolve
- From colleagues to lovers
- From culturally different species to lovers
On the path to love. Those last two points have been surprisingly less challenging than the two above. It’s not only been a joy to take various characters from soldiers to lovers, it’s been relatively easy.
The key has been to think – really think – about the challenges they would face.
- As an individual
- A couple
- A team
- A community
Individual. When dealing with different species I needed to take into account individual expectations based on social customs as well as individual likes, dislikes, expectations.
There’s Two. I had to address the challenges of being a couple.
Emotion isn’t a switch to be turned on so imagine being involved with a species for who emotion was forbidden for centuries, for example.
Team Player. I had to consider how the characters would view themselves in terms of their professional roles, as well as how their teammates would view any changes in relationships.
How do you go from soldiers who fight side by side to lovers?
Who’s coming for dinner?! Imagine bringing someone considered the enemy into a community with the implicit expectation that he would be entering into a romantic relationship with a member of that community.
Assuming the individual would have them to being with.
In this situation the relationship is under a microscope as every member of the community takes note of every move.
Which actually happens with multiple characters who enter into romantic liaisons. As Christine puts it, the universe is watching.
To facilitate the process, I simply looked at each relationship through those four filters.
But wait! The challenge has been to pace the development of the relationships relative to upcoming plot developments and the reality that such relationships typically evolve over a period of time.
As Christine says at one point, loving someone isn’t the same as being in love with them.
I have to think ahead to what the characters will be facing and make sure that their feelings and thoughts about the relationship are in line with where they are in the progression of the story.
There’s more! And of course, there’s the whole physical side to the relationships. That has been a lot of fun to deal with as I’ve had the challenge of incorporating different cultural and personal views on sexuality.
And stopped to think what would each character be worried or excited about in taking that step with the one they love.
This last was a central focus of multiple characters in Promotion: Book 11 in the series.
Front and Back. As I wrap this article before going back to Analysis, I will add that another facet of relationship development is the need to shift the romance from front and center to back burner out of necessity as characters remain true to their roles.
There’s still a war and they are still soldiers, even if some of them are now “closer.”
It has been fun even as it has been, in spite of the implication of emotion, an intellectual exercise.
Analysis will be available August 1, 2019.
Note: This article is cross-posted to elizabethmaxim.com