I wish I were the kind of writer who is organized right from day 1 – but I’m not. I start with a broad concept of where I’m going, then as I write both the plot and characters firm up.
When you’re writing fantasy, it can get a bit confusing keeping track of who has what ability or vulnerability and how it affects their everyday lives. Today I found myself hunting once too often for that scrap of paper… so I stopped everything until I could get organized.
Now I have a notebook divided into various sections (okay, I know I should have done this at the beginning!) for essential notes about characters’ family trees, their skills and innate abilities, what is latent and what is not, how they can be defeated, how they can be killed, etc etc… not to mention all the little facts I’d been storing away about their culture.
Now it’s done. Now I can actually put my hands on ONE notebook and everything I need is there.
A break for coffee, and then I can go back to writing. O joy.
Tyla (Happy, happy Tyla!)
I’ve decided to write two or three novella-length episodes to introduce readers to my heroine, Eve, and her world. I knew where she lived, and what she did for a living, and what kind of world it was. (Not giving too much away here!)
But then… a funny thing happened. As I was writing, I started to slow down. Something wasn’t right…
It didn’t take long to work out what it was. I had started Eve’s story in the wrong place. I’d intended to go back in a future book, and fill in the early details – but no, she wanted to do it in the first story. Mostly to show how she had met the hero.
Okay, okay. I can take a hint! Back I went, abandoning Part 1 less than a quarter of the way through – actually, it became Part 2.
I opened up a new document, typed ‘Story 1, Part 1′ (That’s right, I haven’t decided on the series title yet!) and away I went. Now I’m about 25% of the way into the first story, and it feels right. The hero has made an appearance – and he even came up with a name for himself.
Now, what will I NAME this series?
I’m not going to sweat about it. The name will come, just as Eve showed up and the hero showed up and all those other characters are making an appearance.
There’s nothing like that feeling when a story gathers momentum and starts to take off. You’ve done some thinking; you’ve done some plotting; you’ve come up with the main characters… and you start to write. And what do you know? The characters stroll on stage (or they might be there already, but suddenly turn around and say something) and before you know it, they’re living, breathing people.
Well, it seems that way to the author, anyway…
I’m not someone who plots every last little thing before I start to write. Rather, I have a broad outline of the story. It’s a bit like seeing a path appearing through the fog. The guideposts are in place, but you still have to just put one foot in front of the other – and little surprises appear as you make your way along.
I’m really enjoying getting to know these story people better. I’m finding out things about my main character, Eve, as she talks to the other characters. She suddenly says things that give me an insight into her background, and the weird thing is… I felt that I knew these things all along, on some level. It’s just that they hadn’t found their way (yet) onto the plotting page.