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Friday, October 11, 2013

Dear Jeannie: Sci-Fi Exclusive

Dear Jeannie,

Dahlia has spent her young life focused on escaping the mining outpost where her family lives so she can get an education and spend more time with fewer aliens (sci-fi alert). She was taken over by a parasite who hijacks her body and dominates her words and actions, even to the point of forcing her to commit crimes. She is eventually rescued from her attacker/parasite, but she spends the next several books coping with the rape-like trauma. I'm concerned about her relationships post-rescue. She formed some friendships while the entity had her, and I'm not sure how she's going to interact with them in the aftermath. Distancing herself? Codependency? Promiscuity and/or social marathons (this would be extremely out of character for the old Dahlia)?

Whiplashed in Space

Dear Whiplashed,

This makes me think of The Host somewhat. Having your body taken over by something else would probably have some traumatic symptomology not unlike PTSD, yet Stephenie Meyer doesn't address this at all. Her heroine is just peachy when the alien is taken out. But for your book, the biggest question is should she be fully aware or not when she's "not herself." If she's not fully aware (i.e., dissociated), then she wouldn't even know who the friends are she made while the parasite had her. I think there's more tension if she is aware, because then she'll have to deal with more angst afterward, having been privy to everything she was "forced" to do. I think she'd stay away from these friends, given that the Dahlia they knew isn't who she is. Even more so, they would remind her of this traumatic period in her life that she's trying to move on from. Not sure how to answer your promiscuity question...was she promiscuous with the friends? At any rate, people who have experienced trauma generally try to avoid anything that could connect them with that trauma. Hope this helps!

Dear Jeannie, 

Conner and Sierra are from the same world. Conner was sent to Earth as a baby by his father in an effort to save his life. He grew up as an orphan and has always felt like an outcast, especially when he develops powers he can't control. Sierra is developing her skills as a Light Mage in Conner's old world. She's told she needs to summon a Guardian Spirit to help protect and defend her. Inexperienced, she inadvertently summons Conner from Earth. Since Conner is used to being on his own and not growing close to others (mainly from fear of abandonment and being used by those he came to trust), how would Conner react to suddenly being thrust into this new world where he is magically bound to protect this girl he doesn’t know? And would it make sense that Conner grows close to Sierra and comes to realize he loves her, or would he be distant to her for fear of her abandoning or using him?

Muddled in Missouri

Dear Muddled,

I like this plot line...reminiscent of Emma's story in Once Upon A Time. Conner has grown up extremely distrustful of others. Most system kids are, whether orphaned or fostered. Adults are synonymous with unsafe and untrustworthy. The only thing Sierra would have going for her is that she's his age. You didn't mention whether Sierra's father was in the picture, but it's also in her favor (and by that, I mean Conner won't be turned off by her) that she's somewhat orphaned as well. This will make them kindred spirits underneath all the awkwardness and confusion about mages summoning mages and being bound to protect her, something no one did for Conner (that he can remember). He's going to be resistant, resentful, and fearful, though he'd never admit it to anyone. But yes, love can develop amidst the most extreme circumstances, so that shouldn't be a problem. But let them get to it slowly. Thanks for writing in!


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