Update on The Dragios Twins Trilogy
Book 1: The Lost Ones
A few weeks ago, my editor returned my book to me with some excellent edits and suggestions. She noted areas where I needed more precise and descriptive words, areas where believability was an issue, characters who weren’t as strongly painted as other characters, suggestions on how to reword convoluted sentences, and other mistakes that I had missed. Objective eyes really can help polish a book, because a lot of these issues I hadn’t noticed. Although I had spent many weeks scouring it for mistakes, being that entangled with the novel, my brain tended to fix things for me as I read through the pages. Sometimes an objective pair of eyes can ferret out easy to miss problems because their brain isn’t automatically fixing it for them; for the editor, this book is new to them, the material fresh, so they don’t have the history of the story’s evolution like I do, and are able to see problems as they are. I highly recommend all writers find a professional editor to review their work. It really does help.
What’s the next stage? Researching legitimate agents, writing query letters, and submitting queries. I have a few potential agents picked out, but now I have to research their submission process and make sure I abide by it. I also need to try to write my queries so that I sell myself and yet also sound succinct and professional. This is a hard balance, and it’s been stressing me out. This is the part of the writing process I hate the most.
Book 2: The Experiments (or The Found ones)
I have started the second book in this trilogy and am near the quarter point of 25,000 words. The first book is more of a mystery in which the characters try to understand what is happening to them and why by seeking out clues. In the second book, the characters understand what is happening and are now fighting to save each other from dangerous situations. They know what they need to do, but doing the actions are proving difficult. So the second book has a lot more action and fighting scenes.
The theme of the second book is tied up in the theme of the first book: empathy, seeking truth, and conflict resolution.
Analysis of my Character’s Journeys
I tried hard to avoid any spoilers in the following analysis.
Kia’s journey starts with her in a healthy place in life. She has conquered cancer, emotionally fairly healthy, and has regained some of her strength. She strongly believes in equality and civil rights, and fights against xenophobic attitudes within her classmates behavior, especially if they direct it at Kate. She’s a fighter to the core but also loyal to those she loves. In the second book, these qualities are put to the test to a high degree.
In The Lost Ones, Kia is kidnapped and placed in a terrifying new world that she doesn’t understand – the only similarity between her new world and her old is pain. She understands pain very well due to her cancer and due to fighting against discrimination. By the end of the first book, Kia and Kate come to understand who Kia’s captors are, but their motives are still obscured by a language barrier. In the second book, Kia struggles with anger and a growing hatred of her captors and their actions. She starts to distrust anyone who looks like her captors, and in doing so, she starts to judge everyone within that species as bad — discounting the good ones that are actually her allies. Her distrust and growing hatred of her captors puts her in danger of becoming the xenophobic person she had fought so hard against at the start of The Lost Ones.
The climax of the second book depends on Kia mitigating her anger into less destructive avenues and quelling her hatred of her captors in order to find common ground with potential allies who seek to end her captivity. As Kia toes this line between constructive avenues for her anger and destructive, Kate serves as her foil; she holds Kia accountable, and for Kia, who ends up in a leadership role during the events of the second book, she needs to be held accountable and needs the emotional support, so that she can make decisions and act in a way that drives toward justice and resolution rather than destruction and revenge. All good leaders need someone to hold them accountable.
Kia’s question becomes: how does one seek justice without perpetuating a cycle of violence?
Kate’s journey in The Lost Ones centers on her anxiety disorder and how she mitigates its effects on her life. She has lived most of her life in the shadows of other people, quite content to support them so that she could escape notice. She doesn’t like to be the center of attention and struggles to speak up about her needs due to her anxiety. In the first book, Kate must learn how to speak up and fight for those she loves, and she starts to discern when speaking up is necessary and when to use her tendency toward silence during stressful situations to her advantage.
In the second book, her newly developed skills are put to the test as she and her cousin must fight their way to Kia. Kate, who prefers to avoid conflict at all costs, must learn how to defend those she loves and most importantly how to diffuse intense conflict by speaking and fighting back. This is extremely difficult for Kate due to her anxiety disorder and also due to her struggle with PTSD, as the events of the first book will have a tremendous effect on her mental health. Throughout the second book, Kate struggles to articulate her needs to those she trusts and allow their help when she needs the support.
Kate’s main motivation is finding and freeing Kia, the person she loves most in the world, but as the events of the second book progress, Kate’s motivation starts to change. She still seeks to free Kia from captivity, but at the same time, she wants to help Kia heal from the trauma they’ve both endured. Her empathy toward Kia’s struggle and toward the struggle of Kia’s fellow captives pushes Kate to try to find ways to help others discover their inner strength to survive and heal from the trauma they’ve endured. Kate wants a peaceful resolution to the conflicts they face.
Kate’s question becomes: how does one seek resolution and healing in and after traumatic situations?
Jill’s journey differs from both of Kate and Kia. She enters the tale in the latter half of The Lost Ones. As Kate’s cousin, Jill has lived most of her life in Norway, hasn’t experienced that much discrimination due to her unusual looks, and she’s fairly well adjusted. She has a terrible sense of humor, but is very loyal to those she loves. Unlike Kate and Kia, Jill has no desire at all for romantic relationships, and enjoys long arduous hikes and creating things with her hands. She doesn’t have a lot of interest in outside affairs, so when Kate tumbles into Jill’s life, Jill is thrust into a world of intrigue, adventure, and dangerous conflict. At first Jill resists it, but Jill has a strong urge to keep those she cares about safe, so when she begins to hear Kate’s mind-song, Jill finds herself empathizing with Kate’s struggles. This pushes her to assist Kate in finding the truth of what happened to Kia and ways to save Kia from her captivity.
At first, Jill’s main motivation is keeping her cousin safe. She could care less about the affairs of Kia’s captors or the fate of Earth, but by the end of the second book, when she confronts the horrors of the captors’ experiments, Jill must make a choice — she could turn and walk away, go back to her home in Norway, and continue to avoid recognizing the larger problems, but doing so would mean turning her back on Kate and Kia entirely. And even then, she might not escape the impact Kia’s captors have on Earth and Elivera.
Jill, by the end of the second book, has developed empathy for the captives’ plight and for Kate’s fervent desire to seek a peaceful resolution to the conflicts between all the factions involved. Jill understands why Kate wants to avoid loss of life as much as possible, but Jill also understands that sometimes loss of life is unavoidable when people are fighting for their freedom. As much as Jill wants to go back to the life she lead before the events of the first book, Jill slowly comes to understand that if this larger conflict is not addressed her life and many others could be severely harmed.
Jill’s question becomes: how does one balance one’s needs against the needs of the many?
Book 3: Liberation (placeholder title)
At first I wasn’t sure I’d need a third book for this series, but the further I move into the second book, the more I realize how necessary a third book is. The third book will focus on conflict resolution, seeking common ground (empathy for others), and the characters trying to avoid an all-out war between Earth and the scientist factions (Kia’s captors) on Elivera. I have 12,320 words for the third book thus far, and these scenes exist only within notebooks currently. I have yet to transfer them into my Scrivener project. Originally, I wrote these scenes for the second book, but then realized that including them would draw out the ending of the second book too much. So the scenes were shifted to the beginning of the third book.
The events of the Dragios Twins Trilogy takes place a good 900 or so years before most of my planned Elivera novels. This Trilogy is the origin story of my Elivera world. This series has been years in the making, and I’m determined to get it right. Kate, Kia, and Jill’s story has a huge impact on humanity’s presence on Elivera and their relations with their homeworld, Earth, so I best get back to writing it!