Where am I going?
It never fails that just as I’m getting neck deep in a Work in Progress, another amazing idea slaps me right between the eyes. I mean a really amazing idea! So, what’s an author to do?
In my case, I’m going to brood about it. Yeah, maybe not my finest idea, but when you’re writing on a deadline, it’s all you can do. Does that mean I’m going to totally forget about this new world my mind has unlocked?
Nope. This is all part of the creative process. What do I mean by that? Well, allow me to explain. Just because you have an amazing idea, that doesn’t mean it’s a GOOD idea.
Amazing ideas are subjective at best. Ideas at their core are nothing more than fleeting glimpses of something with the possibility to become concrete. So, it’s up to an author to take that formless maybe and construct the framework of a story around it. To do that certain things must happen.
First off, you have to fully develop your character. Who is it? What has brought them to the point where a story is even possible? I’m talking history, here. Before every memorable character became someone you couldn’t forget, they had a life sometimes only hinted at. That’s the magical element called mystique, or as I like to call it the Wolverine Syndrome. Finally, what motivates them to do whatever it is you want them to do? That could be covered in history, but it’s always best to go ahead and state it without anything getting in the way. When you have those three things out of the way, it’s time to address appearances, and the detail stuff. Once your character is so firmly rooted in your brain you start talking to them at odd times, you’re ready to move on to stage two.
Where are we at? Does your character live in the ‘real’ world, or do you cleverly craft a fictional world that mirrors our very own? Just remember when you do that, it has to be believable. You have to know it as well as your main character. You wake up smelling it, seeing it, and depending on the genre, dreading to set foot inside it. This also includes any secondary characters you want to populate your character’s world.
Okay, time to move on to the hard part. Plot! What kind of crap are you going to throw at them? If it’s a series, really think this through. Do you have a continuing plot that will run through multiple books? Will each book be a one off? This is where you truly define the tone of the book/series, so be prepared to strain your brain. Subplots? If so, I heartily advise you to write a series bible to keep track of all the details that will slip through the cracks of your frazzled memories. Believe me. You’re going to need it, and don’t be afraid to notate the smallest of details, because they may come back to bite you later.
Mains? Wheres? Plots? What next? A villain! Or cruel situation to over come. There again, this might be covered in plot, but I stress this by saying it again. Define it separately, so it can very well stare you in the face. Take as much time on it, as you would your main character and world. The whole point of this is to fully convince your readers that YOU believe it. Because if you don’t, they won’t.
I’m not writing this to sound all knowledgeable, because I’m not. It took me a lot of mistakes, and I fully plan to make many more, to realize this barest hint of what it takes to become a writer.
Being a writer should be a learning experience. Each word, each line, each story should teach you something of the art of writing. You should constantly push yourself to be better than the last thing you wrote. Yes, even a word. The right word can make all the difference in conveying what you want a reader to know or feel in your work.
Since it looks like I have a lot of thinking to do, I’m going to graciously thank you for reading and go hide inside my own little world. Hopefully when I’m done, I will have molded it into something amazing.