Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and the changing face of storytelling.

As some of you know, I'm an Avengers fan, and a fairly obsessive one.

I'm a newbie in this fandom.. Up until the Avengers movie, the only Marvel superheroes I knew anything about were Spiderman and some of the X-men. Now my superhero knowledge is expanding. I'm beginning to get into comics and I have a handful of lifelong Marvel fans and content creators that I stalk online. I listen to them talk about comics and characters and plot arcs, learning about this amazing world of stories that I never really knew existed.

But my first real exposure was the Avengers movie, and one of my favorite characters in that movie was, of course, Agent Phil Coulson.

Which is why this trailer made my week.

It's not just that Coulson lives. (Although that's kind of amazing on its own.) And it's not just that I adore episodic secret agent shows. There's a chance that they might use this TV show to shine some light on lesser know Marvel heroes, which means more stories for me to discover, and I love that.

But those aren't the only reasons I'm excited.

I'm excited because last month at the Boise SCBWI conference, I gave a presentation on the changing face of storytelling. And one of the things that I said was that in the new story age, story trumps medium. Readers and fans are getting used to having stories that are told in several different ways. Books become movies, musicals and TV shows, TV shows become graphic novels, movies and books, etc. And now we have this: a comics universe that became a set of movies and is now a TV show.

Story trumps medium. And that's exciting for storytellers like myself because it means that readers and fans put value on story. That no matter what happens to books or publishing in the digital age, that the act of telling a story is alive and well and that there are still many, many stories out there to be told. In all forms.

And I think that's pretty amazing.

Drowning in story

I've been gone from the blog for a while, and there are a whole lot of reasons I could give. Two moves in the last year, couchsurfing, a debut book launch, acclimating to a new place.... But really, there is one real reason for my absence.

Book Two.

(If you didn't read that with a Jaws-like ba-dum, you should.)

Not that I don't love Book Two, because I do. And it's not because I'm feeling pressured or stressed. My wonderful editor and reassuring agent have been fully supportive while I work on this. But Book Two is a very different beast than City of a Thousand Dolls.

COATD is, at its heart, a small book. A book set on one estate, about one girl's struggle to figure out where she belongs, and who she's going to be. It's about murder and secrets and what happens to love and friendships under stress. Sure there was a background of political intrigue, but it was all just that, background.  Fun, complicated background.

Book Two is ALL about the background. In Book Two, the internal politics of the Empire are front and center. There are rebels and princes, wandering Kildi and undercover killers  who are mercenaries now because I had to take some stuff out which is sad. (It also has two point-of-view characters, because doing things I've never done before is SO MUCH FUN.)

In short, Book Two is bigger than COATD. Quite a bit bigger. And because of that, it's been much more difficult to edit. A little like swimming in open water, when most of your experience is playing in the community pool. Or like winning a goldfish at a fair and discovering you've suddenly got a baby whale in your fishbowl instead.

Actually, now that I think about it, it looks a lot like this:

(Okay, that doesn't fit with my overall 'water' metaphor, but I just saw Iron Man 3 and I've been fangirling for days.)

Anyway, that's what's happening over here. It's not bad, really, just kind of overwhelming and a little terrifying. And there are a lot of awesome things going on too! I love the book and I love the story and I really think it's going to be fantastic. Ultimately, every book has its own speed, and its own learning curve. And I know I'll be a better writer at the end of this, which is really what I want.

So I'm going to start trying to post once or twice a week, but if for some reason I disappear again...well, I'm probably busy swimming.

Have you ever been over your head in a project?
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Fabric art in the header by Carol Riggs.