Confused in Plain Sight – It Happens

Who knows why we do the things we do sometimes. I’m no exception. Contradictions? As an INFJ personality type I’m full of them. On the one hand, I’ve been gloriously as prolific, created countless maps, and developed extensive worldbuilding. The magic system alone fills a notebook.

On  the other hand, there are all those moments that amount to how is it I never figured that out, how did I not know that, or how is it I never dealt with that? 

Yes, you aren’t alone.

Think I’m kidding?

It’s amazing the little things that can become a thing, a quirk that makes others shake their head—even though they have them too.

Here are a few of my recent self-discoveries…

My computer crashed on September 25, 2020 during an update. It turned out okay, but an irrational fear of updating formed.

Ontrye Story Universe

The OLD Ontyre Story Universe. Diagram created in Scrapple. ©October 2021, CA Hawthorne

It lasted for over a year.

I finally updated to Monterey this month.

How about the varying number of books in my series? The problem began with writing novels I considered outside the main series. My so-called peripheral books. They were included, then excluded, then … you get the idea.

Then the last two books happened and all at once the peripheral books were firmly linked to the series. The five-book series instantly became seven novels and a novella, sparking a continuity edit.

The series’ name? When there were only two novels I casually referred to it as Riparia’s series. Later, it became the Carrdia series. That’s technically correct, but it sounds like someone’s name. I imagined people asking me, Who’s Carrdia? In truth, I haven’t resolved the issue, but there are ideas surfacing.

Series problems are, admittedly, small issues. After all, it’s evolved over the six years since I drafted the first book. It makes sense that I’d have to make changes.

Ontyre Story Universe

The NEW! Ontyre Story Universe created with Scapple. ©January 2022, CA Hawthorne

Things change. Writers change.

The epitome of ridiculous, and a problem that’s been a thorn in my side for years is genre. I’ve spent needless years twisting myself into a pretzel trying to define what was, in truth, simple (and necessary for sharing with the world).

Me overcomplicate what should’ve been obvious?

Oh yeah.

I’ve always known I wrote fantasy (there are some short story exceptions). What, though, was my sub-genre? Long ago I tried to write epic fantasy, but it didn’t stick. Instead of choosing a sub-genre, I went on a journey of self-discovery before making a decision.

Then practiced avoidance.

I tried out gothic, gaslamp, steampunk, and women’s fiction, but none blanketed sufficiently, though I still believe women’s fiction applies on a certain level. There are also elements of dystopian, romance, suspense, and even LGBT.

It’d all become quite silly, of course, but still important to resolve.

The answer? Historical fantasy.

I know, obvious.

What had caused me to doubt was the abundance of historical fantasy that takes place in Earth’s past (and that I read). Victorian London dominates. Stubborn me loves my Ontyre worldbuilding and refuses to surrender it.

Then, somewhere, I stumbled across a hint that stuck in my subconscious. It surfaced when I revisited my love for history in a recent blog post, along with my struggles in school due to an overactive imagination.

I retraced my genre tracks to Wikipedia where, under its definition of historical fantasy, lists the four common approaches to the sub-genre. The fourth stunned me.

Historical fantasy may also be set in a fictional world which resembles a period from history but is not that actual history.

Boy, did I feel dumb.

How in all of Ontyre did I miss that all these years? In truth, I’m laughing at the ridiculousness of it all.

Riparia at Lake Seclusion.

Riparia at Lake Seclusion, Carrdia.

All at once, every story set in Carrdia or Pannulus instantly fit. After all, Carrdia is a semi-Victorian country shoved back to the middle ages. Pannulus is 1920s-esque. Good gosh, Anthology I is nothing but historical tales of the Techsquamic Age.

Laughter, lots of laughter.

My stories require a fair amount of historical research that I have to later adapt. It’s a passion, though I pare it down considerably when I actually draft.

Going forward, I’ll note that I write otherworld historical fantasy when needed for clarity. That’s fine. To a degree, too, it all still falls under women’s fiction.

There’s a good chance the ridiculousness began when I was writing in the oxygen deprived haze that ruled me until 2017. Looking back through that haze is the vague memory that I wanted the freedom that my own worldbuilding would bring. No having to explain how it was that magic had always existed, yet so many other aspects of history remained unchanged.

Sometimes that works, but other times, well, it’s awkward.

Time to take a drive in Talma’s magic-endowed, technological marvel of a roadster and sigh with relief.

Courtesy: Pixabay

About Christina Anne Hawthorne

Alive and well in the Rocky Mountains. I'm a fantasy writer who also dabbles in poetry, short stories, and map making. My Ontyre tales are an alternative fantasy experience, the stories rich in mystery, adventure, and romance. Alternative fantasy? Not quite steampunk. Not quite gothic. In truth, the real magic is in those who discover what's within.
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2 Responses to Confused in Plain Sight – It Happens

  1. Don’t get me started about updating computers! I run a Windows machine and the updates are so flaky I never know whether it’ll restart afterwards or just go into a blue-screen loop. So much for software ‘as a service’. Back when I first used computers in the late 1980s the golden rule was ‘does it work? Right, don’t mess with it’. Now the business model is ‘mess with it’, with predictable outcomes. Sigh…

    Apropos genre – I often feel that it’s an artificial constraint. This is true of non-fiction as well. I find it endlessly frustrating in my own writing to produce something that’s written to one purpose and on-point for that purpose – but which is received as if it’s meant to be something else and has failed to achieve that aim. Case in point: my most recent book was published in the US by USNI Press and in the UK by Seaforth. It’s a history of a political gift made by New Zealand to Britain in 1909, which happened to be a warship. The purpose is to explore the politics and the people of the world’s age of ‘social militarism’. Alas, it’s been received as if it’s a failed attempt to describe the engineering and battle history of the named warship, lacking in every detail and instead filled with stupid and boring politics. Akin to looking at a motorcycle as a failed car because it lacks wheels, aircon, bodywork and seats… Again, sigh…

    • You CANNOT begin to imagine how much better you made me feel about the computer, which has worked fine since that fateful day in 2020. There were, though, some minor issues creeping in because it wasn’t updated. Updating, which about took my breath away, erased those issues.

      I understand about genre. It’s irritating that writing must “fit” a certain mold or it becomes lost. Art should be art. Craft should be craft. Alas, we’re in the age of mass marketing having to check boxes, though I guess I should be grateful someone far, far away may discover my work. I must admit my surprise that a work of non-fiction fell victim to the curse.

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