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Abbigayle Grace's books on Goodreads
Elfboy Elfboy (The Pizza Shop Chronicles #1)
reviews: 4
ratings: 8 (avg rating 4.75)

Goblinprince Goblinprince (The Pizza Shop Chronicles #2)
reviews: 4
ratings: 5 (avg rating 4.20)

Winter in Deglendark Valley Winter in Deglendark Valley
ratings: 1 (avg rating 5.00)

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Coming Home — My Thoughts on Dark Fantasy

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“Bryssa was right. This wasn’t home. I knew that a month ago. I just forgot. And the longer I stayed, the easier it was to forget. Now I was remembering, and it felt strange. Like I was an alien now, so changed that I wouldn’t be welcome at home.” — Abbigayle Grace, Goblinprince

Ok, so it’s not the best-written paragraph I could’ve scraped together, but it did seem to have some meaning when I read it earlier, looking for a bit of information I needed for edits of Book 3.

It made me think of recent events in my own life and how I got caught off track more than once in the past years since starting The Pizza Shop Chronicles. And the longer I was off track, the easier it was to stay there. Now that I come back to it, I find that I’ve changed — both my writing skills and my understanding of things; I’m not the same person anymore and I feel almost like I’ve lost the ability to do the story justice…

But at the same time, restarting my work on The Pizza Shop Chronicles feels like coming home, back to the place where I first became a writer. My training camp of Benny’s Pizza and the elf world on the other side of its coat closet.

Of course, I don’t actually belong in Orangeboro — or even Kentucky anymore, for that matter. But it was where I got my real start, and going back to it has helped me refocus on the purpose for my writing. If you read my post “Reason to Blog, Reason to Write — The Most Important Message” you probably already know what a great part of my writing purpose is and that it was detrimental to both my career and life to lose focus on it. It’s to spread the message and good news of Jesus Christ.

The other part of my purpose only became clear to me in the last year, when I was finishing Goblinprince for publication. That’s to provide wholesome, light, and clean reading material.

There’s been an increasing trend in dark stories being written and, while I suppose they have their place, I feel we need more of the lighter stuff. Especially in YA. Teens are depressed and anxious enough as it is. Dark, grim dark, and the like are certainly interesting concepts — I even tried to write two dark fantasies because it sounded like such a fun thing to try! — but what value do they really provide?

It’s an old saying “you are what you eat” and I think it most definitely applies to our mental “eating” as well.

I’m not saying we should put rose-colored glasses on everything. I’ve got goblins and nightmares and witches and skulls and stuff in my books too (I mean was the title “Goblinprince” a clue?). But you’ll notice if you read my books that the bad guys get destroyed and the good guys win. I hope you’ll notice there’s a bit of light shining through even the darkest parts, even if it’s only the light of a friendly voice in the darkness of a secret tunnel under the mountains.

This is what I’m finding as I come back to work on The Pizza Shop Chronicles, and a few of my other works that had been put aside when I thought I’d try my hand at dark fantasy — which is now a 200k-word mess that needs rewritten again to make room for light. It was easy to get caught off track, and easier to stay there the longer I did. I’m glad I’m back on track now, and I hope that, even though I have changed a little, I can still provide good books to lighten the mood of an afternoon.

In closing, I’d like to ask other writers to think about their purpose for writing. Of course, you should not write for an audience, because that leads you to getting caught off track, but please do think a moment about what your readers are mentally consuming when they read your work. Food production companies have to provide a list of ingredients on their packaging; they also have to make sure they get the best available ingredients for the best results for their consumers.

Are you putting the best ingredients in your work? Are you making a healthy, vibrant dish for your readers? Or are you adding a little poison?

I know my books are not the best reading material out there. Even I think they’re weird, and, like I said, there are definitely some darker parts in them (I’ve even got a couple broody, dark-haired boys). But I’m writing up the best pizza I know how (with lots of veggies 🙂 ) and it’s a little like coming home.


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