| “One benefit of Summer
was that each day we had more light to read by.”
~~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle
Big thanks to Kim for stepping in and writing the bulk of
this newsletter while I was doing a lil convalescing.
No worries. Fine now! I greatly appreciated the
break and look forward to being fully back in two weeks.
An Interview with a Dyeland Writer
1. What made you decide to start writing Dyeland-related
I wasn't around when Dyeland got
started, so I had a lot of catching up to do when I
discovered it a few years ago. I loved what I read, and I
couldn't help wishing the community was really real. When
Jenni told me that some people had written stuff for their
own characters back in the day, I wanted to get involved. So
I proposed the idea of the Kemara character and Jenni
incorporated her into "Ivy."
2. What's the most difficult part of stepping into a
fictional "universe" that's already been evolving for several
I'd say having to learn "the rules". I
did a lot of reading to get caught up when I found Dyeland,
not just the stories, but the newsletters, too. And I'm sure
I asked Jenni a ton of questions about the characters and
background. Actually, I still do!
3. Do you have a favorite among the characters you've
Obviously, Kemara is close to my heart
as she is very similar to myself in a lot of ways. But Sean
is my favorite. My current story focuses on him, and I'm
enjoying the challenge of writing about a guy in his mid-30s
who's a husband and father. I have to think about what his
perspective might be compared to that of a woman. Plus, his
personality is much more outgoing than Kemara's.
4. Of the characters you did NOT create, which is the
easiest for you to write for?
Probably Owen, and I'm not really sure
why. I guess because he seems like he'd be a good friend to
hang out with. Kemara tells him about her uncertainties
before her first date with Sean because she knows Owen can
be trusted not to scoff.
5. And the most difficult?
Oohh....I'm supposed to say Joshua,
right? I think it's the more minor characters like Emma,
Kylie and Peter. And that's just because I don't have as
much experience writing them, so I'm not sure I'm portraying
6. You've also written TBAA fanfic. What's the biggest
difference, for you, in writing straight TBAA fic versus
The TBAA characters aren't the same as
the Dyeland ones, and I have to keep reminding myself of
that. It's not just that the Dyeland characters have had
more experiences since the show ended. Things that happened
on the show might or might not have happened to the Dyeland
characters. For example, Monica's encounter with Satan and
meeting with Arthur happened one way on the show and another way within the
7. What is your favorite Dyeland story that you've written?
Kemara and Sean's wedding, the planning and
execution of which takes place over a few stories, was the
most fun for me. I did so much research on Catholic wedding
customs - choosing the readings and prayers and the
participants, finding Kemara's dress, choosing jewelry and
decorations that would have meaning to the characters. I
even created a Pinterest board to keep it all straight.
8. Do you have a particular writing ritual? Like a
certain drink you sip on, a treat you indulge in, music you
listen to, etc.?
Not really. It might help if I did! I'm
a notorious procrastinator. I have to be "in the mood" to
write, and if I'm not, it's like pulling teeth to get one
9. What words of advice would you give to someone who
wants to try creative writing?
You always hear "write what you know",
but I think the better advice is, "write about what you
think is interesting." Before Dyeland I never thought I'd
find myself researching child development, twins, Down
syndrome, the staging of "The Secret Garden" or how
firefighters train. But it's been a fascinating ride, and I
can't wait to see what else we add to these stories.
10. And what advice do you have for writing Dyeland fic
Don't be afraid to join in! Ask Jenni
for a copy of the guidelines that she created a while back.
Following them will help you immensely. Read as much of the
old stuff as you can so you get an idea of the world. Ask
questions. About once a week I'll ask Jenni, "How do you
think so-and-so would respond if Kemara asked this?" or "Can
you read this bit and see if it sounds right?"
11. Anything else you'd like to share?
I want to thank everyone who's glanced at my stories. If you
like them, let me know!
Dyeland Stories: A Web Site Tutorial
So it used to be that, about every year, I'd
give a little tutorial on the web site and where to find
things. However, it's been over two years since I have and
now the web site's pretty huge. So I'll just do it in bits
and pieces as it fits in. Since Kim's interview was about
the Dyeland stories, it made sense to focus in on that section
of the web site. So here goes!
First, if you start at the index page which is www.onthisside.net,
click the bucket to enter and then scroll down to the Dyeland
Stories button. The page is divided into two
sections: Stories and References. First in the Stories
section, you'll find the The
Author's Cut. Here's where
you can find all the non-newsletter stories as well as some
commentaries I wrote on earlier stories. Next up is the
Story Index which lists *every* Dyeland/JABB story.
There's color coding to tell you whether a story is "canonical"
or not. It's also searchable so if, after reading the
interview, you want to check out Kim's stories, simply Find her
name using your browser and scroll through. Last is the Friends
of Joshua Forum which is currently on hiatus but will
return when I finish the trafficking story. It's a
message board where assorted Dyeland characters weigh in on
various issues and offer their views of things they experience
in the stories.
The second and longer section is References. The Dyeland
Map is exactly what it sounds like! The
Dyeland Timeline gives a run down of major events in
Dyeland's history and life events in the characters'
JABB Encyclopedia is a tool I use a lot when
writing. It's a catalog of references to a given topic
in all newsletters and stories. So, for example, if I
want to know what stories reference Monica, I can go there,
search *Monica, go to her entry, and get what I need. Cultural
References is just something I started for fun but it
can also be useful in finding a story that you read and want
to visit again but can't remember which one it was. If
you remember that "Tender Shepherd" was sung in the story, you
can go to Cultural References, search for it, and then it'll
narrow your search down by listing only those stories that
feature the song. Characters'
Birth Dates & More List is purely a list of
dates of birth, death, and anniversaries of the
characters. I mostly use it so as to correctly cite
characters' age in stories. The Biblical
Era Characters list is useful in keeping track of how
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and more are referred to in the
stories. It's handy because the Dyeland stories tend to
use the Aramaic versions of the names. Next up are Family
Trees for some of the characters. The Dyeland
FAQ hasn't been updated in a good, long time and it's on
my list to get around to eventually. If you have a
question that you'd like addressed, let me know and I'll add
it. Thanks! The Dyelander
Info Database is also in need of some updating!
Basically it's trivia about Andrew, JenniAnn, Vincent, and
The next three links very much go with the Dyeland Map.
First, there's the Official
Flowers of Dyeland. Back in the day, I was really
into the Language of Flowers and so every city in Dyeland was
assigned a flower or tree that had significance for its
purpose or those who reside there. Next up is Laws of
Dyeland which is really just archival. I assume
Dyeland has laws but they haven't been referenced in a good,
long while and this isn't super high on my priority
Behind the Names explains where the names of assorted
Dyeland locales comes from.
Last of all comes Guidelines
for Writing Dyeland Stories which Kim referenced
above. If you have any questions about that piece, or
any of this, please let me know. Thanks!
This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for helping to
bring to life the stories of TBAA which, in turn, inspired
so many stories here!
Credits: The photographs used on this page are
from Touched by an Angel and owned
by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and
Moon Water Productions. They are not being
used to seek profit.)