I get asked fairly often how it is that I do what I do. For a long time I didn’t realize that not everyone has an endless loop of stories in their heads or characters that pull up a chair to have a chat. It seems inconceivable to me and I know that in those brief periods of writer’s block I felt like I was going crazy without them.
Each story starts as either a character who just springs to life in my mind, or as world building. Brain, my muse, loves world building. I have hundreds of partially defined worlds in my head at any given time. Sometimes it starts with a concept, say a universe where corporations govern, or gender-bent Victorian era. Sometimes it begins with a character, say an orphan raised in restrictive religious colony that shuns technology but is herself a technological wonder or a pickpocket who is quick on her feet.
Those are the easy things. The stuff that comes before the writing.
Of course, the challenge then is to populate those worlds with characters that will get the reader’s attention or to find a world for that character to live in.
When it comes to plot, I often start writing without one. The first words I get out tell us something about the character, usually by dropping in on them in the middle of some scenario or situation that may ultimately have nothing to do with the primary plot, but gives us a good idea who this person is.
Most of the time, I let the plot fill itself in as I write. Sure, this means that sometimes I have to do some extensive re-writes to make sure it all comes together, but I find that this is where the story comes to life for me. Sometimes I have specific plot points in mind that I want to hit along the way, but not always.
Of course, because Brain is fond of world building, I sometimes craft these meticulously detailed worlds that then sit idle until the right set of characters come around. I have a notebook full of these, and a folder on my One Drive as well.
Now, if I could just get Brain back to the work of telling this story! I have two weeks until I start my new job to try to finish the zero draft of the third Blood Witch book. My coffee is getting cold, Readers, so I’ll leave you here. Have a fabulous Sunday.
Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash