I’ll start off by drawing your attention to the new layout of my blog. I had no part in this, it is the creation of a wonderful and talented friend of mine, Amber Newberry. I linked her blog; check it out because she’s an amazing writer, human, and friend.
This is post is going to be chalked full of little known facts about “Synchronicity” for all three of you who’ve read it, want to read it, or have just ran out of shows to binge watch on Netflix and feel like this article might be an entertaining substitute… boy, are you going to be disappointed. I did want to add a warning: This piece
might will contain spoilers.
Without further adieu:
1.) “Sync’s” original title was “Medium”; it was a working title that I kept for a long time even though I decided early on that Lila’s abilities weren’t going to be a result of magic and that she wouldn’t be able to talk to the deceased. The more I thought about the nature of a true medium, the more I concluded that while interesting, it wasn’t the direction I wanted the book or her character to take. I wanted to emphasize telepathy and telekinesis. Even so, her dreams in this novel and the next could be considered foggy versions of probable future outcomes.
When I stumbled upon the term synchronicity and Carl Jung’s theories, I became obsessed. I loved the hope that came along with the idea of everything happening for a reason; even devastating things. I tossed the name around a while during my time studying it and felt like I had no other choice; this had to be the title. Nothing else worked. Nothing else set the tone for the next few books that I knew I’d be writing to follow up on the first. I knew there wasn’t another word I could use to comfort the reader through the devastation of book one except to say, “Hey, I’m kind of sad too, but look up the meaning of synchronicity and tell me that’s not hopeful.” I know that by the end of the series, the ways everything is set up to connect and the reasons would work to bring that title full-circle and doing so will be fantastically exciting.
2.) This book was never meant to be a book. I enjoy writing in different voices. I started the piece on this very blog… no joke, I did. All I was wanting to do was get invaluable practice pretending to be three very different characters and recounting the same story in ways I thought each one of them would tell it. I didn’t have a real plot; I didn’t even know what I was writing about or where I was going when I began. I’m not a planner and I certainly wasn’t going to start then.
I was a senior at Mary Washington taking a poetry seminar. I’d always avoided poetry; to me, it made no sense. Growing up, I read books all day every day and was a fan of everything from “Plato’s Five Dialogues” to “Flowers in the Attic”– a series I snuck around with from the ages of twelve to fourteen. When I became interested in creative writing, I was determined to focus on prose, but gosh dang it! The more poetry I read and wrote, the more I learned how it worked, the more I couldn’t stop writing. I decided I was a poet! So, there I was coming up with poems left and right and I started the writing exercise thinking, ‘wow… if I had more practice writing as all these different people it’d be an exponential benefit to my poems.’
The more I wrote in the voices of Lila, Wesley, and Sara, the more invested in their story I became. It was all I could think about and with no plan, I woke up each morning speculating what would happen to them that day, or afternoon, or whenever I was able to squeeze in an hour or two to jot down the next scene. By the time I pulled it offline, “Synchronicity” truly felt like an extension of me, a piece of who I was is in there and the draft form made me realize the vulnerability in that idea. So I took it down mostly for my own sanity. I wrote it, bartered with some talented individuals for editing, changed it a million times, and ended up with “Synchronicity” as it is now.
3.) Sara almost didn’t make the cut. Yep, don’t clean your glasses again… Sara almost didn’t make it into “Sync”. WHY?? Why Would you do that?! OMG! … Worry not, it wasn’t because I didn’t like her character. I had a blast writing in Sara’s voice. It was a chance for me to take serious situations and go off on these insane tangents. For example, she’s being held at gunpoint by Sullivan and his guys and her thoughts are focused on lipstick colors. Even so, I almost cut her out because in several of the original versions I didn’t feel like she added much more than humor, which I was easily able to pull out of Lila and Wesley.
I fought hard for her and eventually came up with the idea of using her as a vehicle to give the reader a sense of who the FDRA really was by exposing her to Sullivan and the other agents. Even though book one doesn’t explore Sullivan’s voice, I wanted to make it known that, yes, RJ Sullivan is a threat and he’s willing to stop at nothing to eradicate those with abilities.
Once I justified saving her character– a huge relief to me– I needed to develop her a little more which was where her background with how her and Lila met came into play. I wanted to give her character substance and significance. I considered this girl who was intelligent, but who’d had a difficult childhood and the ways we could see her grow by the time the series ends and the idea, to me, was compelling. While we won’t be seeing too much of her in book two, hang in there Sara fans… she’ll make a grand return in book three.
4.) Wesley’s character drove me crazy and originally he died in the end. Let’s talk fire-hot, arrogant, smart Wesley Turner for a while. Deep breaths… I know. Pull out the fans. I’ve had readers ask if “Synchronicity” was going to be a movie. Heck, I’d sign a contract just to see a real-life version of his fine self! So how could I almost add this hunka-burnin’ love’s body to the count? Easy.
In several versions of the work, his character was obnoxiously sentimental. Ya’ll know the roadside park scene. Which one? The first one. Yeah, where he puts his hands on Lila’s shoulders and coldly tells her point blank that her parents are dead, that they were killed. Or the time she tells him she can’t swim and he abandons her in the deep end– she’s holding on to the side– but still…
All that almost never was. He was open with his feelings for her from the get-go and I’m pretty sure he shed a few tears over her parents’ deaths as well. Not that it’s a bad thing… but I’m personally digging Wesley the way he is now.
So, I felt that by the time all was said and done, he needed to die. I thought a character as strong as Lila couldn’t possibly be sustained by an emotional wreck like the original versions of Wesley; he had to go. But, as I revisited his character I had a change of heart. After toughening him up, I couldn’t bring myself to keep him dead. Being the rhetorical necromancer that I am… I used my trusty keyboard to breathe new life into him. Ta-daaaa…
Okay, not that impressive, but still. Give me a little credit…
5.) I had a difficult time killing off Lila’s parents. Even though I never developed them too much as characters, I kept them alive in early versions of “Sync” and in the end, they’re alive and staying at the lake house in Lowndes.
By the time I looked at the work as a whole, one thing was still keeping me up at night, and it wasn’t the extra cheese I’d drowned my gas station nachos in. Why would Lila just go with Wesley?
Sure, I could say that since he spoke to her telepathically and she returned home to her house awry and her parents missing, Wes had a pretty compelling reason to ask her to go with him. Maybe…
Umm, no. At least, to me, it wasn’t a good enough reason. Not even if he was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed love muffin. Nope. That should never be a reason to take off halfway across the country with a strange guy during your senior year of high school, two weeks before finals no less.
I needed a bigger trigger. Something to really set it up and to illustrate just how evil the FDRA was. As much as I tried to avoid it, I could only see the murder of her parents as a traumatic enough event to accomplish both goals and that made me sad.
On the upshot, I snuck a few memories into the first novel and a couple more into the second. Those, along with Lila’s crazy dreams seemed to work as a small token of compensation for me.
And now that we’ve reached the end… thanks for humoring me btw… I’ll leave you with a new poster from the sequel novel, “Meneotius” coming out this year! I hope you found the little known facts a wee bit entertaining. If you like them enough, I might write a part two because there’s plenty more where these came from. If not, feel free to comment and I’ll be more than happy to spare you the boredom.