Whose Series Is This Anyway? by Janine M. Donoho

Mistborn Chronicles

Mistborn Chronicles

A comment from my MISTBORN CHRONICLES page:

Josh  Mar 08, 2014.@ 06:29:44    Is this sanctioned?

My first novel KALEIDOSCOPE began moving through the submittal cycle shortly before Danielle Steele’s book by the same name hit the shelves. Amazon.com alone now lists over 25 titles by that name. While mine received a slew of encouraging rejection letters, it will never see the light of day. You see, I’ve moved on and KALEIDOSCOPE served as a terrific lesson on ‘how to write a novel’.

Borne of Mist Book 1

Borne of Mist
Book 1

My complete and original epic fantasy series MISTBORN CHRONICLES started crystallizing in the early 1990’s while I studied for my biology degree. I wrote the first novel of my MISTBORN TRILOGY after graduation. If MISTBORN TRILOGY sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone—it’s out there. Thus my tweak to MISTBORN CHRONICLES when in fact, my series is a trilogy. Great minds? Perhaps.

When BORNE OF MIST, Book 1 of MISTBORN TRILOGY, was complete, my then-agent sent it to Claire Eddy at Tor. She wrote a heartening thanks-but-no-thanks, referring to another series in the pipeline that ‘was too much like mine’. Well, long story short, that series was listed as MISTBORN TRILOGY and has done very well.

I recently read the first two books of this other fantasy series, which has expanded from the original trilogy format. Contrary to Ms. Eddy’s comment, TOR’s MISTBORN world has nothing in common with mine in which:

A rapacious mage rips the veil between realities to pursue an escaped captive. Into a world innocent of magic and meager science, mysterious powers and creatures surge through the rift. This triggers events leading to earth-shattering changes to this world and others. Two Mistborn must learn to trust each other, developing tactics and strategies even as their evolving talents become paramount. Meanwhile a mage war escalates, promising to quench the spark of this world—and others.

Forged in Mist Book 2

Forged in Mist
Book 2

So please, potential readers, understand the way of the written word. Titles describe a fictitious world and invite you into them. There may be times when one novel or series’ title appears to mimic another. Consider another view.

It takes time to finish and edit a 340,000 word trilogy. Add in the years spent going through multiple traditional publishers, who insist upon single submissions, then hold your works hostage for 6-12 months before deciding it’s ‘not-quite-right for them, but please send any other work you have’. Consider an indie writer, winner and runner-up in multiple writerly contests, who decides to take her work to an alternative platform. Because really, what more does any writer want than to find those readers who love her stories?

Chosen by Mist Book 3

Chosen by Mist
Book 3

Then understand this proposition. We writers tap into an infinite river of creativity, allowing what comes to flow through us and onto the page. Some have dubbed this process ‘writing to the bone’ or ‘ripping open a vein’. We humbly offer this gift to you.

In answer to those readers who take issue with titles that appear to provide more of what they already love: why not try the new? Decide for yourself. What do you really have to lose?

Have other writers and authors dealt with this issue? What worked for you?

Where We Are Now by Janine M. Donoho

Memories can be triggered by scent, sound, and touch–basically any sensory input. Or we can find we’ve lost a vital link when we need it most. Having experienced both ends of the spectrum, I’ve learned it helps to absorb where I am now.

A stunning Irish setter named Harold comes to mind. Upon release from the van, he repeatedly leaped straight into the air. Once he discharged sheer exuberance, he shot off into the intoxicating unknown stretching before him. Harold never looked back to see where he started. Not once. Okay, he was Dog and lived in the moment. I get the difference.

During last year’s escapade to Malaysia with the fabulous Ying, who served as tour guide and hunter-gatherer extraordinaire, none of those breathless lost moments reared their shaggy heads. You know the ones. They unexpectedly flare up in foreign environs where language skills fall flat. We experienced two super malls that elicited ‘turn-to-see-where-you-start’ flashes. Queen’s Mall in Penang proved an easy warm-up to the monstrous edifice of Mid Valley Kuala Lumpur. We could still be wandering the parking levels there. Instead we memorized where we started.

Being present or ‘in the moment’ may come across as new agey. Yet why not try it? I’ve wallowed in the past to the point where anthropology courses offered a great fit. I’ve also hyper-anticipated events, then missed what was right in front of me. These experiences count as warm up phases to the idea of now.

Mistborn Trilogy Comes

During months of travel through ancient lands, I learned the tough way to turn and study where my trek began. Many landscapes in Europe, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey and North Africa are laid out in medieval fashion. You can wander for hours before stumbling onto a familiar place. This turns out to be especially true after long ferry, train or bus rides when your brain’s in freefall and language skills falter. Breathing helps.

Of course, now I plant myself in my writing chair nearly every day. Yes, I still sink into story, which takes me elsewhere–and follow gladly. However as I revisit my MISTBORN world, wending my way through avenues and topographies I designed, I find it’s good to look around and take note of where I begin. Sometimes it even works.

Soundings, Water Elemental

LaunchFebruary 27, 2015
The big day is here.

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