Post: Writing as an Escape
By Justine Alley Dowsett
I write what I like to call ‘Escapism
fiction.’ Simply put, I like to write stories that transport my readers to far
away lands and distant futures; to show them an alternate vision of what life
could be. Ultimately, my goal is to provide readers with a vivid world they can
escape into for a while, but I’ve found that writing such stories can be a kind
of escape for me as well.
Most of my books are co-written with my
sister, Murandy. The two of us invent a world and a host of characters and then
we retreat into our writing room to live in our imaginations for the duration
of the writing project, which is usually two to three nights a week for
anywhere from three to six months at a time.
Mirror’s Despair was no different in this
regard. We started writing the first book in the Mirror Worlds series, Mirror’s
Hope, back in 2013 and back then we were both going through some difficult
times. Without going into details, at that time in our lives it was a wonderful
gift to be able to go into our writing room and shut the door on the real world
for a little while each night. It allowed us to focus on something else, feel
productive and have something to show for it while spending time together doing
what we both love.
And worldbuilding is a big part of that.
The setting of this series, the Mirror Worlds, are two realms that exist in a
precarious balance. One side worships the Creator and the other fears the
return of the Destroyer and in each realm a copy of each person exists, called
a ‘Mirror’. Across the four books, the story of a pair of Mirrors are told (one
pair chosen by the Creator, and other by the Destroyer) following each of them
as they cross back and forth discovering the true nature of their balanced
worlds and what threatens it, essentially playing out a massive game of chess
at the hands of two primal forces. Oh, and did I mention it’s also a romance
Sitting down to work on each book was like
travelling to that world and joining the cast of characters on their journey.
After a time, the people in the story became like friends to us, and we knew
the world we lived in about as well as we know our own. It was hard to say
goodbye, but also cathartic to have the story finally come to the conclusion it
had been building to for so long.
In fact, writing this series was such a
great escape for us, we’re now working on building another world now that our
epic dark fantasy romance is complete. We’re not sure what form it will
ultimately take yet, but that’s part of the fun.
the world has been a great stress on all of us and Murandy and I are no
different. Even if writing is not your thing, I would definitely recommend
taking up a project either with someone else, or solo; one that allows you to
escape into a world of your own for a time. It can be highly therapeutic and a
whole lot of fun besides.