Category Archives: Remnant Series

I Review My Own Book

I had a fun idea yesterday: Sit down and review a book that I wrote, pretending as if I had nothing to do with its creation. So, here goes… Continue reading

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Writing a Love Story

The sequel to Remnant, which will be called Resurrection, explores the past of the character Ethan. As expected by anyone who has read Remnant, it introduces the one he became lovers and a parent with.

I’ve never written a love story before, neither in my non-published writings nor in Remnant. Working on the love story in Resurrection has been a real treat for this reason. It is an unusual kind of relationship Ethan has, and it, obviously, is between two unusual people, as would be expected with Ethan.

As anyone who knows me knows, I’m a big sucker for the subject of love. I do believe love is the only thing truly worth living for. A true religion, if you will. Something that cannot be seen or measured, but it can be felt and it is real in our hearts, like religious faith.

Knowing personally what it’s like to be in love, writing about two people experiencing it for the first time is like reliving it myself all over again. In Remnant, with James and Candace, there is a scene where the two reconcile after many months of tension and emotional distance from one another. That was one of my favorite scenes to write in the entire book, because it depicts something I believe to be true, with all my heart: that no matter what, love can find a way. James had already known his wife’s secret; a secret that many readers told me made them despise Candace. Despite knowing what Candace had done, he continued to love her, and just moments before both their deaths, all was made well again. I think, to James it was worth patiently waiting for Candace to come clean, even if to just have five last minutes of feeling what it’s like to be in love again. With Ethan and his lover in Resurrection, you get to see the opposite of what you saw with James and Candace. You see the beginning of the relationship, not the end. But trust me, the beginning of this relationship is equally as tumultuous as the end of James and Candace’s.

This is one of the reasons the experience of writing Resurrection has been more exciting than it was to write its predecessor. Where Remnant was a story about survival and ruin, Resurrection is about rising above events that nearly killed the characters. Some have told me they thought Ethan and Mercy were going to get together in Remnant, to which I usually responded by saying there wouldn’t have even been time for that. In this second entry of the series, I can depict more things to do with these important characters than merely their dire circumstances. I can explore their humanity. I can show my readers what makes these characters exactly who they are, and why.

In a way, Resurrection is a story about the healing power of love, in all the forms it comes in. I am excited to share the story with the world this year.

 

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Why We Love Stories

While I wrote this article, this song started playing on my computer. I think I’ll encourage you all to listen to it while you read this.

They say, “Plant a tree, write a book, and raise a child.” I couldn’t find the exact source of that quote, but it is a phrase I agree with. Even before I ever heard of it I agreed with it.

What’s the significance of planting a tree? Well, all life on Earth gets the energy it needs to survive from the sun, and where do animals like us get this energy? We don’t directly eat sunlight. Well, we get it from plants, who in their own way actually do eat sunlight. So, ‘plant a tree’ I agree with because we as humans survive thanks to plants. Also, trees help with our breathing too. We kind of owe plants our utmost respect. They take care of us and we don’t seem to take care of them much.

I’ll get to ‘write a book’ later.

As for ‘raise a child,’ I think there’s more to that one than the simple fact we need children to continue as a species. Remnant has many themes in it, including faith, the question of fight or flight, etc. One of the themes I had in the back of my head while writing the book was this: Children are our redemption. (Spoiler warning! Read no further if you haven’t read the book and don’t want the story ruined! You have been warned.) Ethan, though you don’t know exactly what he has done that he is so ashamed of, apart from the things he commits in the narrative, you know he’s done some pretty horrible things. So, why does he want to leave his daughter with someone else? Because he has already done horrible things, but he doesn’t want his child to follow in his steps. Children are like the second chance at life we never had. That is why they are our redemption. Most parents love their children, and for many parents, children are their motivation to clean up their life. For some, like Ethan (who I acknowledge is a fictional character), it is far too late to clean up their life, so they do everything in their power to prevent their child from becoming like them, even if that means leaving their life forever. Also, there is no love a person can have for another like the love a parent has for their child. When you have a child, suddenly your own well-being isn’t your primary concern anymore. It gives you purpose, where before, you may not have had a purpose. A child can be happy even when everything around them is terrible. A child can love and forgive unconditionally. Nothing changes your perspective of the world quite like growing into adulthood. Your imagination shrinks because you’ve been exposed to reality for a long time by then. But a child still has that imagination, they can still dream vastly without being hindered by ‘facts’ or doubt. They don’t weigh the odds, they just try. No matter who you are, you can learn a great deal from having a child. That is why I agree that everyone should have at least one child before they die.

Now, to ‘write a book.’

The reason I love to write is because stories are where our imaginations can be preserved. It’s where the impossible becomes possible. It’s where our wishes come true. It’s where we can relive happy experiences, or create experiences we know we will never have. I think it is the only true spirituality in the world. That and music. Only stories and music can truly transport a person to a higher state of existence, where true peace can be found.

Human beings have loved stories for hundreds of thousands of years, since our ancestors were first able to communicate with each other. When our species first learned how to write, and I’m mostly just referring to cave drawings, what did we do with that achievement? We depicted stories. Legends. Things that may or may not have happened. It didn’t matter if these events were true, because we love stories. It makes sense, I think, when one considers the fact we are social animals. We need others to survive, to be happy, and to have a purpose at all. So, of course we would naturally crave stories about how this man fought off a giant, or how the gods were angry and tried to kill us all but our people defeated the gods. We need stories to know that huge obstacles can be overcome. We need stories to know that someone out there is just like us and struggles just like we do. There’s a reason we treat fictional characters like real people: sometimes, fictional characters are real to US. If they’re real to us, that makes them plenty real.

I believe our innate love of stories is the primary driving force behind religion. It is why I think that, despite how dangerous religion is, it will never truly go away. It’s written into our DNA. Our existence needs a plot. For many, it’s difficult to accept that our existence is a result of chance, and there is no grand future our existence is heading toward. I can understand why billions of people can’t accept that.

Why should we all write a book? I think it is because we all know there is no magic in real life. Happy endings are extremely rare, and even when they happen, they still aren’t the true ending. The true ending is death; the thing we fear the most. Our bodies, our minds, were entirely designed for survival. Despite being 100% built to survive as long as possible, death is still something we cannot escape. However, perhaps death is possible to escape in a story. Even if you write a story where all the characters die, those characters are still immortalized in the book. A person can still open the book again, and start from the beginning. The book will live longer than the one who wrote it. In a book, there can be magic, and there can be happy endings. See, writing a book isn’t about the finished product, it’s about the writing itself. One has to take their mind into a different place, and live in that place in order to bring the story to life. Maybe you’ll spend 50 years writing that story. Maybe you never know where the story is going. But at least you’ll be writing it.

Make something that never truly happened happen. Ignore the laws of physics and time, and do the impossible. Such things are possible in the stories we create, no matter how much real life weighs us down.

Faith in a Cruel World

The theme of my novel Remnant is faith. Since it is a character-oriented story, and it is written from their points of view, you get to know them fairly intimately by the end of the novel. I think the underlying theme to everything they are all going through is having hope when it is foolish to have any. As one example: Theia hopes to find her parents, even though she has no idea where they are, and she starts to be convinced her parents don’t even want her back. Another character has religious faith, believing that God will make the world right again, and he is utterly patient to find out if that will happen.

Of course, my novel’s meaning, theme, and even exact plot, is subjective and up to the reader’s interpretation. There absolutely is a specific direction the plot is going, and a theme, etc., but I don’t want to sit here as the author and say “this is what you should get from it,” because that would defeat what I want readers to take from it. It is written from several characters’ perspectives, and nobody in the book perceives everything correctly all the time.

In the context of this story, though, I think it is apparent that everyone relies on some kind of faith. Everyone’s circumstances are absolutely dire. They live in a familiar land, but that land has been torn apart by internal war, and now the land they once knew is desolate and destroyed. Food is scarce, and is equally as difficult to come by as friendly people. Basic human needs, from shelter to companionship, are all nearly impossible to come by. Yet, these people continue to try. In that environment, if someone is alive, it means they are putting your faith in something. Maybe it’s finding you family, maybe it’s having a family at all.

Remnant is a fictional story, but I put extra care into making it as realistic as I could. Because of that fact, I think the underlying theme of faith is something that drives all people to live from day to day, especially when life is difficult. If we didn’t crawl toward the light at the end of the tunnel, we’d just give up. Some people do give up, some people have a longer tunnel to crawl through, and some reach the light. What is pushing us, and how long it will push us, is all subjective and depends on the person. there’s never a guarantee we’ll get what we seek, but we always believe it’s worth trying, don’t we?

Some characters don’t have a happy ending, but some do, just as in real life. I openly forewarn everyone who has not read Remnant but is interested: it takes place in a kind of cruel world most people aren’t accustomed to seeing depicted, and cruel thing happen to the characters… but don’t hard times make it so much sweeter when we reach the light at the end of the tunnel?

My Novel, Remnant

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A young girl finds herself alone in desolate streets. With only her instincts and her father’s teachings, she must survive against the elements, and many of the city’s remaining inhabitants.

Society has broken down, the government has fallen, and the infrastructure has collapsed. Modern conveniences – from grocery stores, to cell phones – are nothing but memories. The ruthless and corrupt are in control. Regular people struggle to find their place in the new world.

Remnant is a story about the people, as seen through their eyes. It is a story about keeping hope, even when there seems to be none. When the line between good and evil is blurred, how far is too far to survive? These are the choices we must all make.