Last week was a look into Ifan’s character sheet with a little valentines something. I hope you enjoyed it. This week is just a general thought into starting writing and finishing it, from my experience.
There are books on writing, helpful chapters on plot lining, on drafting, on story arcs, typical characters, villans, endings and more. There are resources online in the form of tutorials, websites, artwork, maps and other unnumbered items. In theory, writing a book is just the act of filling in the blanks, writing down the English word and going from point A to point B. We write every day; essays, emails, reports, memos, text messages (though L33t speak is not quite good enough … though a book in L33t … no, back on subject Wolf, back on task). We stay up doing crazy hours to get that one piece of work in, writing through exhaustion and caffeine induced alertness. You’re not aware of what you write, but somehow you do. Maybe you know more than you let yourself believe?
So why is writing so hard?
Well, firstly there’s the spark, the idea. Generating what it is you want. It’s daunting, scary even. A blank piece of paper laughing at you from the desk or computer screen, the cursor winking mockingly or the pen simply refusing the run (I hate that, don’t you? Invest in a good pencil and see what a difference it makes. Mechanical ones are the best). You sit and scratch and scowl and then, after a long stretch of silence, you hiss in exasperation and leave (mentally and physically. Don’t slam that door!)
Why? You wail. Why is it so hard?
It’s that little moment of confidence that your story hasn’t been told, your idea is yours and that it’s worth telling. So Mary goes to the supermarket, gets kidnapped by aliens, stolen away and then stuck in an interstellar war over some offence she caused by buying milk? How was she to know the man she handed it to was a Deralian where milk is considered a death threat? (If that’s your idea the go with it … sounds far out, but hey, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is just as far fetched at times. But its a good book. And it was written)
Maybe we expect too much, like a hammer of inspiration to come slamming down and knocking us out and we see stars. Hoo boy, if I could have that, it would be incredible! But because we’re expecting (I’m expecting) the bolt from the blue, we miss the quiet moment tugging on our sleeve. Sometimes the seed is all we need to grow our plot, to open the door onto this other world. Your world (yes, yours!).
Sons of Lur started from the dying seed of the Elementalist Trilogy, Crusader and the tiny thought of “What would it be like to be joined to another being?” Just that. What if … a dangerous set of words. This idea grew with the watching of fantasy films, reading fantasy books, watching Stargate SG1 (of all things) and suddenly, quite unexpectedly, I was being introduced to characters.
I find that once I have an idea, the general plot comes about from a vague ending – you know – “lets go get a sword and then yay!”. The bits on the way sort of precipitate out of the soup of ideas in my head that I get from writing, influenced by what I’ve been reading, researching, listening to. Not the best way, but it makes for and exciting journey.
Then, I get introduced to characters. First comes the bold ones, the loud ones (Gretham and Taynor in particular. Alecto came trailing after his sister like a shadow). So I begin to write and more characters surface, come for a quiet word, a quick chat, a shake of the hand. The invasion of dreams (the bastards …). Sometimes I see my main character from the get go, confident, timid, alone, a noble hero. Sometimes its the quiet one in the corner who just sits and watches.
After the characters are hanging around the stage door, I get them kitted out. I like this part, thinking of costumes and clothes and settings. I dream in rich colours of firelit halls, starry evenings, noble halls. Some enjoy this, others don’t. I turn to my graphics software and hammer out some ideas (hence Ifan is more designed than others) and their characters grow with their clothes.
Then I get down to writing.
And I get stuck.
Writing for me involves cultivating an environment for thought. For quiet contemplation. It’s improved since I got my own office overlooking the back yard with the sunlight coming through early in the day and lingering long into the afternoon. It’s peaceful, probably the most decorated section of the house, and has all my little knickknacks to hand. I cultivate music to think to, quiet and soft or stirring and bold. But I never seem to have enough time. It probably doesn’t help that I have coursework to get done, major pieces of work to do or a life that streams away like sand in an hourglass – it just buggers off and I get to another weekend and go wtf? I also spend too much time getting absorbed on the internet (it’s eating my soul!) or sitting and watching endless hours of Star Trek on my laptop (our tv is deader than dead, so we’re stuck watching stuff on the only decent portable computer in our house. I keep trying to get my partner to put his computer in the living room but …)
❤ you darling ^_^
Time is something we don’t ever really have.
And yet I write.
Sons of Lur will be ready by the time I graduate, but along the way I’ll probably have to get over my “I don’t feel like writing” thing I have going.
Beta readers would be highly appreciated come the future – just shout out and I’ll get back to you. A quick thanks to =Lumaris over on deviantART for her help in getting the kinks out of the start of the novel. You’ve been so kind so far and a huge help. Also a HUGE thanks (unending and eternal) to Lord A384 for his undivided attention and care when I actually get down to it. I know I probably go on and on about Ifan this and Nyssa that and that you don’t really care about silly little details, but letting me get it out is immensely appreciated. Coffee is on me next time, ‘mkay?