Just a short post tonight...
...on the history of And the Stars Will Sing, as promised!
At the time when I started the story, in 10th grade* I had just started to get into the swing of writing. I was working on a novel, sure, but all I had so far were a few short stories and some really atrocious poetry. Then, one day, I found myself browsing about in a copy of Astronomy Today. There was an article on some classic Hubble shots. The full-colour photos were, I learned later, based on painstaking analysis of the probable contents of the nebulae and stars. Hubble shots were always taken in black and white first. At the time, though, I didn't know that, and probably wouldn't have cared. Those photographs of eternity, of endlessness, touched something in my teenage heart, and I before I knew it, I was working on something longer than a short story and much shorter than the novel, a new form in a new genre.
The title popped into my head with the mental image of Crystal walking down the hall of Crossing Paths and humming it to herself. Crystal was a pretty clear character from the get-go, with a bright, perky personality and just enough mischief to keep life interesting for herself. Describing her maturation from a green university student to--as she sees herself at the end of the story--a much more worldly-wise and scarred person was interesting, because at the time I didn't have the life experience to figure out what those changes would be like. I preserved a lot of the naivety of my own voice as a writer in Crystal's tone as I edited it later. In retrospect, I think giving her that goofy, inexperienced vibe had a serendipitous accuracy if my real life experiences with people are anything to judge by.
*In other words, I was fifteen when I first got this baby underway. OH GOD I FEEL OLD.
From there, I had no idea where the plot was going, but the next person to make an appearance was Jai. (Don't know who that is? buy the book and find out! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0075G7GEA)
In comparison to my writing nowadays, his character seems a little quaint, but his pep, spark, and difficult personality made him fun to describe and interact with. From there on, I started to fill out the background cast. Kyall is probably my favorite of this bunch; one of these days, I might describe his back story, since it sounds interesting. I'm not sure if I can make it relevant, but since there will be at least two more short stories released that are set in this universe, he'll probably stroll onto the stage at some point. His character development is more of a tease in AtSWS, but I've been told that he has a very remarkable sense of presence, and I'd love to learn more about how he made the decisions he did earlier in life. (What? You think I know? This stuff writes itself, I'm just the pencil-pusher, half the time...)
The plot followed pretty easily from there; it's not terribly complex, but it was never intended to be. (I'm trying really hard not to spoil it for you so you new readers won't feel ripped off!) It was AtSWS that gave the me the practice in writing a fight scene and very basic social drama interactions that have become so invaluable now. I remember running home from class and gluing myself to the computer.
And later, when I crafted The Wordthieves, the next complete story in this series, everything I learned in those early days came very much in handy.
And that's all there is to the genesis of And the Stars Will Sing! As for its sister piece, Wordthieves, I'll be teasing you with details about this dark little work very soon.
So long for now!