Goldenguard’s release date is just one week away! Next Saturday, November 26th, it will be available in print and ebook. Click here for more details on that, but before that comes out, I wanted to share with you guys why I write books at all.
I mean, let’s get the obvious out of the way: I love it. Crafting worlds where wizards say “y’all” (Goldenguard), superheroes go to Woodstock (Ferryman), and being a Virgo means you have green skin and gossamer wings (Dodecon) is the most fun you can have while Mom still has my Gameboy.
And yes, I feel called by God to create, but that vanilla phrase misses a few things, which I’d like to share today.
This article pertains to just my fiction work, not blog articles.
The Bench Principle
Someone once said “Steal like an artist.” Well, I think this counts.
Hollow Knight has become my favorite video game of all time. Fun gameplay, awesome bosses, surprisingly rich lore, it’s wonderful. It’s also kinda…hard. The world is adorable, but also out for your blood. And every Hollow Knight player knows the relief of finding one lovely sight:
The bench. In this game, a bench restores all your health, and saves the game. It doesn’t matter that you just scraped your way through Deepnest, where everything from the fire-spewing spiders to the literal floor is trying to kill you, you’re safe now! You can rest, recharge, and get back out there.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
I want my books to have that exact same feel: relief and rejuvenation. Enjoyable enough to feel like a break from the crazy world, but also invigorating enough to get you back out into it. When I thought and prayed about that, I developed a RED principle.
Restore. Empower. Delight.
Those three words kept spinning in my head, which I shrank down to the RED principle. I want everything I write, from Goldenguard onward, to possess all three of these traits.
Restore. To a certain degree, I want my books to be an escape from the world, a place where people can put down their problems for a while and just enjoy themselves. We all need rest, and I hope my books can provide nurture people with wild tales, humor, and hope.
Empower. While escapism is fun, it’s harmful in excess. I don’t want my readers to hide from the world; I want them to find the strength to go back into the world with more power and certainty. I use the escapism aspect to invite people into a world, then use that world to show them a new narrative of life: one where pain has a purpose, where what is lost can be restored, where life can be good, if we put in the effort. I hope these stories give people even a little jolt so they can return to our bleak and dreary world ready to take it on for one more day.
Delight. And darn it, we’re gonna have fun along the way. God made art to stir the soul, but also to please it. I want to tickle the senses with lush imagery, clever word choices, and offbeat humor. I’m not just here to provide cheap candy on paper, nor shoddy sermons from a hardback pulpit. I’m here to mesmerize. I study the craft, and share my writing with others so I can improve my books, why? So you can have the richest, most spine-tingling, toe curling, wheeze-laughing, heart-shredding, salacious experience possible! Because everybody deserves good art.
Because of Who I Am
Last Christmas (don’t you sing that song) my wife got me a framed image of my last name, plus the words “Restore. Reconnect. Reconcile.” These are the three ideas God gave me to be a family mission. I want the Blaylock name to be associated with recovery. My writing is an extension of that principle. I hope my words can not only stir the soul, but by God’s grace, rebuild it.
Spoiler alert: I’m going to fail. The hardest lesson I’ve had to learn over the last few years is that I will write things that hurt and infuriate people. Just look at the comments on some of my blogs! But that’s okay. Some will be hurt because they willfully misinterpret anything that doesn’t sound like their own voice. Other times, I make foolish mistakes.
My words have power. I’ve seen my writing touch someone’s soul and help them heal. I’ve seen my voice help people connect with a lost piece of themself. My capacity for failure does not outshine that. If I fail, I will learn and move on. I am human, and will treat myself like one, with room for failure. And if people simply don’t like what I say, that is their prerogative. I have no right to be loved by all.
God has given me a pen, with which to weave fables of hidden truth. I will not hide this gift, but sharpen it, and share it. This world needs truth, but not in the screaming, villainous ways we get every day. It needs fairy tales: portals into other realms where truth is lived, not preached, and with captivating magic. That’s how people heal. That’s how people grow. That’s how God works.
So come, have a seat on my bench. You look weary.