Here I am again with the recordings! This is the second of my additions to the novels. How to Stop Wildfire it felt natural to have a preface to explain the journey to it and explain it. With Harmonic Waves, my thoughts lingered on the content and what it meant rather than the journey so I chose to do a retrospection that is at the end of the novel. There are some spoilers within which is all the more reason it needs to be read following the book itself.
Read...or listened to. Yep. I recorded myself again. Enjoy!
If How to Stop Wildfire was practice that I could take a shred of story and transform it into something great through modernization and revitalization, Harmonic Waves was the first serious capitalization of that experience. It was the second, the successor of the messy first that was sourced from an even messier beginning.
How to Stop Wildfire is surely a testament to what I had learned, but it is still chained by it always being a long-time work in progress. Harmonic Waves, on the other hand, was written after I had achieved some semblance of competence with writing. Parts of it were hashed out and written in tandem to the later days of How to Stop Wildfire, but it was mostly finished after the publishing of How to Stop Wildfire. That means it was generally new territory in terms of the prose itself. There was freedom in that sense.
But it was not wholly free. Harmonic Wave’s content was dictated in part by How to Stop Wildfire. In How to Stop Wildfire, the stage was set and the choices were made that would define the series. Harmonic Waves was where I could affirm those choices or reject them. Mostly, I affirmed all the choices I made. I do not think there was anything where I wholly rejected any decision I made. The plot dictated some differences—like the chapters being mostly shared point of view rather than an individual driving the chapter.
There are some core exceptions, like Cyclone’s ‘of Heart’ chapters, Farrco and Spellbinder’s personal before/after vignettes, and Hequera’s arc. The last of which was actually the result of a choice I made in the writing and development of Harmonic Waves. I was at a crossroads with Hequera. There was the idea of letting her story go untold and have her and the Trinity and the One meet again at an auspicious moment. And there was, of course, the idea of showing her story as it went on and eventually intertwining it back with the Trinity and the One.
It really was not that much of a choice. I went with Hequera and I’m still going with her. I will until, well, that’s for you all to discover in time.
The actual plot of Harmonic Waves, the conflict, was also inevitable in how it came to be. The core of How to Stop Wildfire, the quest for the Dimensional Weapon, was an old story that I made reborn. Harmonic Waves was always going to be the same way as its contents were chained to something critical of my world.
There are tales and stories to my world that are as tested as it. Traits and backstory that although the setting may alter, although things may change in the periphery, their essence remain true. Things like King being King and all that meant, things like Spellbinder being able to do magic and being from Paeyk, and things like Cyclone’s backstory. Scenes that when I began this journey I knew if I was able to scribe them into a coherent story that I had done something.
One of those critical scenes was at the heart of Harmonic Waves. When I was playing with LEGO all those years ago, there was this one time where I enacted this scene of Cyclone chasing an old friend across circles of stone across a body of water. Jumping as they had done in the long ago past. The past before Cyclone became Cyclone—that moment where he gave his soul for that friend’s life. Cyclone had always been the product of selfish sacrifice for another—that I had known from the beginning.
That backstory, that baggage, that need to move on from that moment was what drove Harmonic Waves to be the successor to How to Stop Wildfire. Cyclone had to come to terms with that moment of his being for him to become truly a member of the Trinity and the One.
And I had to write it out. That scene, this collision of two estranged past lovers together, had to be written. I had to do it justice. The entire essence of it was like a vision from the past that was brighter and bolder than it had ever been as mere LEGO play. Everything was built around that moment, everything was fleshed out to arrive there.
Things were added. Basically everything in Harmonic Waves was new save its pulsing heart—Cyclone’s heart or lack there of. And that pagoda, those stepping stones, and of chasing Jeytaeir. The entire act was hollow and reverberating. It was a reflection of the past that was lost to them except for its dull memory.
I guess I’m like Cyclone. I’m chasing after the pure memory of the time where it was all new. Characters finding names, ideas being scrawled out onto dull paper, and adventures unfolding as little LEGO pieces being moved across the floor. I aspire to bring that raw thought into something real. Something I from which I can feel an intense wave of sensation of awe and satisfaction.
I can’t go back to those times. I can’t suddenly regress back there. I have to keep going. I have to keep jumping across my own stones and never reach it but I know that I can’t go back and I don’t necessarily want to go back. I’ve grown and everything has grown with me. Characters are given their names more sanely. The ideas are typed out onto a computer. The adventures happen in my Neraq.
Cyclone accepting that things can’t go back to the way they were with Jeytaeir was two things: it was itself and it was, in a way, my acceptance that I can’t go back but I can go forward. The stories that I tell are not necessarily the same as the ones I acted through as a child. They are both different and the same.
I celebrate the strides I’ve made since then as a storyteller and cherish what started it all. All the while, I keep going on and on this journey, seeing sights old and new.
Harmonic Waves is one big milestone on this path. I look back on it now with as much reverence as I do as its inspiration. But my focus is always on the next step and continuing on and on and on.