This post is about For the Birds, but first, a story from my most recently published novel, Numbered, and one of my favorite reviews. It wasn’t even a 5-star review, but one that was only 3 stars. The reviewer pointed out some things they didn’t like about this dystopian romance. But they also shared things they liked about the book, and honestly, they were so wonderful to read I go back to that review often when I’m feeling self-doubt rearing its ugly head.
One positive point they stated has stayed with me since I read it:
“This sci-fi dystopian romance is surprising because unlike a lot of others, it spends a lot of time on characters forming emotional bonds that aren’t related to the love interest.”
This was meaningful to me, because the characters themselves are the biggest reason I love writing stories.
When I write, I really love to dive into the WHO of the character. Who are they? Why do they react certain ways? What do they love to do in their free time? What is their biggest wish? All of these things are just as important as the love story that unfolds. In fact, the love story isn’t even possible without knowing the inner workings and backstories of the characters.
I also don’t like to make the love story the biggest part of the whole story. It’s a big part, don’t get me wrong. But so is the reason why the love story isn’t seamless, and much of that has to do with the cracks in the characters.
This was true in Numbered, where the love story of Noelle and Ryder was definitely important, but it was not ALL THE THINGS. Beyond their attraction to each other, Noelle and Ryder had past experiences that shaped who they were and their differing belief systems, and also prepared them on their mission to save the world.
This is also true of For the Birds. The love story is about Cricket and Sonny, former lovers who experienced the demise of their relationship after Sonny moved away. But the story is also about Cricket and her aversion to change, and all the ways this fear is holding her back. The romance theme of this novel is about second chances. But the underlying theme of the novel is how we humans stand in our own way.
In that, For the Birds is not your standard romance novel with the sole focus on the relationship, but a love story that celebrates love for yourself.
Note: This is an ongoing blog series about For the Birds, a book I’m currently editing and will be shopping to publishers this year. Stay tuned to keep up with details about the story, sneak peeks at excerpts, and to learn about how the publishing process is going. If you’d like to be alerted to new posts, hit the “follow” button at the bottom of this page, or join my VIP Readers Club (you get a free book!).