My cats don’t understand that I am busy writing about their distant cousins, the felixities, cat people who inhabit the world I have created. Accordingly, they demand attention, particularly on nights like this when I come home late from an evening at the writers workshop I frequent. I gave them their dinner and they were quiet for awhile, but now they are demanding their evening snack, even though they ate dinner less than forty five minutes ago.
What I learn from this is that the felixities must have either inherited this hunger, or have figured out a way to socialize it out of themselves. I believe it is the latter, since they have shown the ability to march long distances on short rations, and that is not consistent with the sort of demands my cats are now making on me.
I’m going somewhere with this, if you will bear with me. I have always claimed writing fantasy allows me to write all the rules of the world that I am creating, But I am constrained by what readers might find credible or reasonable. If, for example, my felixities, intelligent cats that walk on two legs, started barking like dogs and panting, I would understand if my readers were upset or offended by this characterization. They would not be acting consistently with the cats people know and love (or hate).
This thought did not spring out of thin air. Twice today I spoke with women at my workshop about some of the elements of the story I hope to publish this summer. Each brought their own sensibilities to what I told them, and I got completely different reactions from them. One was ready to curl up on a pillow with a comforter around her to listen as I spun my tale. She is a fiction writer. The other told me that I was describing a world with religious elements, and that many of the events in my world were metaphors for sexual relations. She writes nonfiction.
What am I to make of this? I will be workshopping this novel on June 4, and will know that evening whether a publication in July is possible. But if two listeners can take such different attitudes to what I am writing, to whom do I market the book? I confess what started as an adventurous tale has developed into somewhat more than a simple story, and has become a statement of more global principles than I thought or initially intended. I suspect it can still be read as an adventure for those of a mind to that kind of fantasy. But I now believe the scope has broadened and that some may take much more than adventure from it.
The full message will not come out until the sequel. Or perhaps the second sequel. I can’t do too much about that. There is simply too much information to put it into one book. I tried and was universally advised to split it up. I will have more about the sequel shortly, since I have already written about half of it, and am chomping at the bit to get on with it. I hope you will come along for the ride.