Guest Post: About Ragesong Awakening by J. R. Simmons
One of the things I like best about writing is how fluid and ever-changing it can be. Some authors I have visited with will sit down and write up an outline that they stick to religiously, and that works for them. When I start writing, however, it is with a completely open mind. I have a vague idea about where I will eventually end up, but the journey is always wide open. Creating that journey is what I enjoy most about fictional writing.
When I am involved in non-writing activities such as running or swimming, I take the time to think about major plot points, or how I’d like to develop certain characters, but I usually steer clear from thinking about immediate events. For me, those events come most naturally when I am sitting down writing and the ideas are flowing.
Some of my favorite moments in Ragesong: Awakening were spur of the moment ideas. I do not want to reveal too much here, because I don’t want to spoil anything for those who have not yet read the book (if you have, leave a comment and I would love to get in touch), but the most exciting, and in my mind, funniest things that happened were added without forethought. There are few things that allow me to completely open up my mind the way writing can.
As an avid reader and video gamer from a young age, my mind was already trained to accept the fantastical. Growing up, my favorite games always revolved around the Final Fantasy series (and I am ALWAYS up for a good FF conversation, anytime) and my favorite authors have always been fantasy writers: David Eddings, Orson Scott Card, Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, George R. R. Martin, and more recently Brandon Mull (you will notice that J.R.R. Tolkien is not on this list). As wonderful as those books were, I didn’t realize the difference of exploring someone else’s vision vs. completely creating my own until I started writing for myself. The limits of what could happen in my book were only set by what I could imagine.
I was glad for the rich backgrounds of the books I read and the games I played because they helped me to open up my mind to what Fermicia could really look like. One of my favorite worlds ever created was the world of Spira from Final Fantasy X. The world looked fantastic and welcomed the player in with open arms. I talk a lot about worlds, but you’ll notice in my book, that I leave a lot up to the reader. When I play, I love to explore awesome backgrounds, but when I read, I like things to happen. This was one of the reasons I really struggled with Tolkien. The man’s ability to describe was magical, but I didn’t have patience for it. I wanted things to happen, battles to take place, romances to evolve, etc. I have since found that this is how I write as well.
Ragesong: Awakening is a book of action; things happen and events take place. Having younger protagonists, this was easy to do. There is no need to worry much about romance with such young teens (for now anyway), so I was able to focus on their character development and set them up for the rest of the series. Jake and Sam were a pleasure to work with, both having come from overwhelmingly different backgrounds that forced them to adapt to a new world in vastly different ways.
I love the opportunities and experiences that writing has opened up. Now that I have had the opportunity to create a world of my own, I find myself looking at things a little differently in real life. I seem to find magic in things that I took for granted before. I am truly enjoying the new places Jake and Sam are visiting, the new experiences that they are having, and the new people they are meeting in book two. It has been so much fun to see how they respond to new situations as they grow.
I am so thankful for the many people who have helped Ragesong get to where it is today and all the readers who have enjoyed the book and demanded more. I can’t wait to share the next book with everyone, so that people everywhere can continue the exciting journey in Fermicia.