Posted in Atlantic City books, Writing

IWSG—The toughest literary choice ever

It’s time for another meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The first Wednesday of each month, we share struggles, triumphs, quandaries, and fears.

I set a super-lowball goal for July Camp, only 10K, and overachieved by quite a bit, but it feels like cheating since it almost entirely came from creative non-fiction blog posts, not the fictional project claimed. This apparently permanent lockdown and still being stuck in a place I hate has destroyed my normal daily averages and opportunity to write anytime I want.

At this point, I’ve almost lost hope I’ll ever be back in a home of my own, in a city of my choosing, with walls and doors for privacy and sound reduction instead of an annoying open concept.

I also finished proofing the four volumes of Dark Forest for their print editions, and am now back to one final proof of The Twelfth Time before it finally goes into hardcover. Even if you only make a few minor corrections or changes here and there, you still need to look over the document just to be sure. So many times, new errors have slipped in during what I thought was the final edit!

Next up will be the final proofings of Dark Forest, and then all my books will be available in print.

The book formerly known as The Very First is scheduled for release on 23 August, and I cannot stop going back and forth as to whether to age my characters up by a few years or keep their long-established birth years of 1929–31 as-is. Each choice has very compelling pros and off-putting cons.

I’ll be pushing off my pet-themed month to focus on promoting TVF, and will go into much greater detail about this issue in later posts.

Just look at all this hard work I’ve put into making family trees over the years! If I changed the starting generation’s age after coming up on 29 years this November, it feels like at least 90% of their stories would unravel.

I could’ve aged them up without too much inconvenience before a certain point. Now, being up to 1998, it’s too late. So many things are built around characters being born and doing things in certain years.

That age is also established in my already-published books about Jakob and Rachel, which automatically makes changing it a retcon.

It’s like the time travel paradox. You think you’re only making a tiny change, but it has huge, wide-ranging repercussions for so many other things. It’s also like skipping a few grades—it might work brilliantly at first, but eventually that jump creates big problems.

A number of the ladies have late-life babies (change of life surprises or results of early fertility treatments). Some of them might be aged out of plausibly having those babies!

Although granted, a couple of those kids serve no real purpose other than to give their parents a child together in a second marriage.

This would also necessitate different age gaps with many siblings and friends, which would radically alter their relationship dynamics.

Logically, I know it makes the most sense to age them up about three years. Keeping them at a 1930 birth year is convenient and assures everything stays mostly the same, but makes them a really awkward age for categorization and marketing purposes prior to their high school years.

Even within the context of satire and deliberately over the top humor, it strains credulity re: normal cognitive and physical development. Even a very precocious child is still a child where it really counts.

It’s one thing to have a single character like Stewie Griffin or Lisa Simpson. When near the entire cast are mentally SORASed, people are less likely to go along with it as totally normal per the rules of that world.

During the last major edit of TVF, I made their age deliberately ambiguous. At most, it’s stated they’re under twelve.

Events could be backdated or restructured, and I’ve long known most of my drafts set from about 1945–63 need a major gut renovation.

But these aren’t characters I just created or shelved for 25 years! We’ve been together for almost 29 years, and everything was structured around their being born with the Depression!

Have you ever re-aged a character after many years? Do you feel it were the right decision? What’s the most radical continuity change you’ve ever made? Would you be willing to help with promoting TVF with a guest post or cover reveal?


Writer of historical fiction sagas and series, with elements of women's fiction, romance, and Bildungsroman. Born in the wrong generation on several fronts.

8 thoughts on “IWSG—The toughest literary choice ever

  1. That teaser at the top of of your blog is so intriguing! I’d be happy to post a cover reveal or guest posts any time you want. Just note that I don’t really get any traffic except for IWSG days—so maybe you want me to post in conjunction with the September IWSG?

    That is quite a conundrum you have there. I wouldn’t change the ages if you’re considering it mainly for marketing purposes. Genres/categories are bendy, and people are going to like the story for the story, not for it fitting precisely into a category (take this advice with a grain of salt a I don’t know anything about marketing in your genre). Good luck making your decision!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, considering your living situation I think you are being very productive. I’m not thrilled with being in Los Angeles, but at least I’m comfortable and living under decent conditions. In my estimation, things can always be worse so might as well look on the positive side. Damn! I’m amazed by your productivity!

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out


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