Theme And Meaning In The Pretverse

I took a series-writing course to help me get my ducks in a row. The type of series I’m writing is a series in which each story technically stands on it’s own, but they are all linked. I write them in a particular order and number them merely because there are some things happening in the background that cause everything to make more sense. But you could enjoy the front story of each book all by itself, or in any order you choose (And some people may prefer it that way to have sort of a ‘puzzle-piece’ experience).

[Editor’s note: strong language after the jump]

In the series-writing course, it is suggested that I should come up with the “worst possible outcome” for the series, and then come up with “any” solution, no matter how stupid, because it will help me figure out a way to “wrap it up” when the time comes.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that my series doesn’t work that way. And it helped me to come up with the underlying theme of what I’m writing, what’s most important to me to convey.

While I have all these different romances and species, everybody is at odds: human (the ones that know), magic users (really humans, but a little upgraded), demon, angel, gods, vampires, therians, guardians.

There are so many different conflicts and there really is no one “group” that we are all supposed to root for. We’re just supposed to “understand where they are coming from and what motivates them.”

In most books/series we have an idealized reality that doesn’t help us understand humanity any better. Even villains we can “understand”, we still understand they are “the bad guy”. And the heroes we understand are the “good guy”. It’s very polarizing, because it doesn’t help us get any closer to understanding our own humanity.

In the Pretverse, if one character we like “wins”, it can mean greater conflict and challenges for another character we like. I’m not sure the point is for us to “save the world” here. I think the point of this series, the theme I want to express is:

There is no utopia. There is always struggle. But in the midst of that there is love, hope, and pockets of happiness to be found and enjoyed.

Somehow I doubt that the afterlife is a boat ride of pure eternal bliss, and if it was, it might be as sterile and boring as the heaven in the Pretverse. When we’re in high school many of us can’t wait to get out. But when we get out in the adult world, we come to find, much to our chagrin, that it’s just like high school again. All the shit we hated about high school, we hate about the “grown up world”. Well, what if Heaven (or whatever afterlife scenario one envisions) is still high school? What if dying doesn’t make problems go away and we still have to grow and change and fix things and deal with set-backs and disappointments. If that’s true, then what does it mean?

I think maybe some people haven’t really thought out the whole: “perfect happiness forever and ever” issue. And it’s something I want to explore with the Pretverse.

So… toward that end, I don’t WANT some giant awful thing everything in the series is building toward, then they overcome it for peace and puppies at the end of the series. The background conflicts aren’t there to be “resolved forevermore”. They are there because that’s the point. Love and happiness in life happen in spite of the background drama. The world will never be perfect and everything will never be wrapped up neat in a tidy bow, but despite that, each couple finds their happiness. And the hope is, that you will also find yours.


This is a reprint from the Weblog of Zoe Winters.