let's see if i'll have the time and patience

lancemclaen  asked:

Hi Sarah! :) I just recently picked up your Lynburn Legacy series (Can't wait for Unmade!) and found your short story (it seems quite long to be called a short story but I'll call it that anyway) The Turn of the Story (which I absolutely LOVE and I also want to say that I think your writing style is amazing), I don't know if this is been asked before but I'll ask it anyway. Will Luke and Serene (and perhaps Dale) ever go to the other side to see how and where Elliot used to live?

I am so happy you’re reading the Lynburn Legacy (I hope Unmade won’t let you down!) and the Turn of the Story too. I am extra happy you are enjoying it. ;) The Turn of the Story is, I now admit, novel length even if it isn’t novel shaped. I have a terrible problem and I thank you all for your patience. ;)

So a few people have actually asked me this, and I thought maybe it was time to answer it? Because I do not wish to lead them on with false hopes! Though I warn you about spoilers after this line!

Tragically my own magic system (invented to explain why mermaids are not right now drowning tourists in the Thames) has foxed me here: Only certain people can cross the Border into what Elliot calls ‘the real world where stuff made sense and phones did not explode,’ and most of those people are human (though not all humans can do it) and so I’ve been pretty cagey about which people from the Borderlands can and can’t cross. 

However, Dale (for instance) probably could cross the Border, and that is something I might’ve tried to write for you all, since I saw many of you wished for Border crossin’! But I had already written the sequel short story, and that makes it clear such a thing hasn’t happened. (The sequel, published in Monstrous Affections in September, made some things unchangeable! Which is a little bit of a shame, since some of the fun of writing a series of books or a serial (short or… very long) story is seeing reader response, and adjusting for it sometimes—since readers are smart and I like to give them what they want, so long as it wouldn’t mess up my story.

So apologies there. ;) And apologies for anybody who figured Luke or Serene would be hilarious confronted with cars, toasters, or people assuming they were bikers/cosplayers/cosplaying bikers. You are right and they would be.

But why did I originally write it all the way I did, like a dumdum? (Ah, the constant lament of writers to themselves. ;)) 

Magic is something I like to write about a lot (no really Sarah! the populace cries. We never noticed.) The kind of magic I like is that which seems real to me, which like most things, can’t solve your problems. It gives you more and different problems instead.

But magic, like some difficult but wonderful things in real life, maybe can change you until you are in a position to solve your own problems.

Elliot in the story agrees to stay in the Borderlands not only because he has a crush on his new friend (as all fantasy fans know, elves can get it!) but explicitly because it reminds him of something in a book: Narnia, Tortall, Ingary, Earthsea. Reading a book, magic looks like an escape. Actually being part of a magic story means things are more complicated than that, which is something I wanted to examine with the premise.

I think people have also asked because they see Elliot is in pain, and they want him to be helped and saved, which is super lovely of them, and I so appreciate them caring about my wee redheaded Eeyore stand-in. ;)

But even if the other characters met Elliot’s dad they can’t beat Elliot’s dad up (well they could… but it would be shocking behaviour!) and they can’t make him love his son, either. Elliot’s dad would probably just say ‘What is up with that girl’s ears’ and trail sadly out of the room.

The characters of the Turn of the Story are all very influenced and affected by their families, and have very different and very complicated relationships with them (Elliot’s father would not put him in mortal danger, for instance, and Luke and Serene’s more loving families do) and they are all trying to hide it, which is why Elliot designedly never ever talks about his home life except to lie, and Serene’s cousin is the one who provokes her about her mother since nobody else would know to do so. They’re shaped by their families and that’s what they all need to be saved from, in a slow subtle process.

I write about difficult family situations using the same principles as I use regarding magic, and many other experiences—only you can save yourself (though sometimes even you can’t do it… and often you need help). There are no easy fixes. Art holds up a mirror to life and sometimes tilts it so you see from a new angle. Magic and life-or-death situations have a lot in common with day-to-day marvels and pains.

Your friends don’t protect you from your parents by going to your house and getting in the middle of your family situation.

Your friends protect you from your parents by being your friends.

(In short, I deny everybody the things they want, no fixings, only torments!)