I know that I wanted to write about the books that inspired me or books that I liked a lot, but there are other things about writing that I like to talk about as well. Well, when I get on the subject of writing I do like to talk about what I’ve done and I can talk about it quite a bit… not quite endlessly.
Anyway, I was spending most of my time working on my stories when I should have been working on the covers so I could publish them as e-books. Because of that, my thoughts were mostly on my stories during the rest of the time every day. Which brings me to an instance of inspiration… it was while I was writing in one of the stories of my The Merged Worlds series. When I write I’m always in the future from the last story. The series carries two main characters through their interconnected stories to… well, to their future… So I was writing one of these stories and I needed to have the name of a particular baby and for once the correct name came to mind immediately. I had known the need was coming up (I knew the baby was coming) so somehow the name had grown in my mind… somewhere.
I know it might sound odd to some of you, that such a datum was created in my mind and was available when I needed it, but so it was (is). A lot of the creation of my stories develops because of the character dealing with the issues of the situation. In other words the character comes to life in my mind and tells me the story or shows me as I come to understand what’s happening. It is hard to explain, though I don’t really let the character run away with the story, even though some try.
Back to the name… the baby’s name was there in my head and then in the story at a specific point in the timeline. So, in the way I think about these stories, I was considering a different character’s tale up the timeline. Then, all of a sudden, that character was being followed by the character with the new name… the baby had grown up and was now in the story with the other character… as a teenager. They were talking… the younger had been following the older and made contact, wondering why the one was acting this way. They hit it off and I listened as the two carried on this long conversation, comparing their similarities and differences and becoming friends. (I know it’s a little vague but I don’t want to give away any spoilers… in the off chance that someone will actually read my stories and this blog)
Then, since this was all going on in my head, I had to write their meeting down in the appropriate notebook and work out some of the specifics. In the series there are witches, vampires, werewolves and all the other fantasy types that make up this genre but there are twists in types unique to my stories. When these two characters become friends they are bringing a standard, though powerful, magic type into contact with a strange magic type. It develops from simple contact and friendship into a strong bond and, later, a working relationship.
The series of stories had built up in the timeline to a specific confrontation of traditional magicals, as I call them, several books before this one. At this meeting point on the timeline there is a developing conflict between traditional magic and the strange magic. (This strange magic rears its ugly head in the upcoming book of Stacey’s in the series, to be titled Artificial Magic).
This kind of development (the meeting of these two characters in my mind and their conversation) is one of the things I enjoy in writing. Not only do I create the worlds, histories, characters and situations, but I get to see them come to life. Okay, I know that I’m bringing them to life but the fun part is when they are so real that their reactions to situations come automatically.
I’ve written character studies (by which I mean creating several characters with defined pasts and psych profiles and setting them in specific situations of emotional stresses) that equal thousands of pages of stories and will likely never see the light of day but have enhanced my style and understanding of what needs to be written to achieve particular results. It has also taught me when to let go of control and allow the character to guide me in which direction is logical. In one sense I have parameters that define the story and let the characters play within the boundaries. Occasionally they let me know that my original plan is too restrictive, completely wrong or silly, or it reveals a complication that I had forgotten to include or consider.
When I’m writing a story I already know the story, I usually don’t do an outline but the bare bones of the story get rehearsed in my head. If I’m using a familiar character the character’s voice usually helps me define what he or she will do in any particular situation. Generally I rehearse the story a few times, or a few dozen times, before I get into the actual writing of the tale. At that point I know what the story will be, beginning to end and as I write I enhance what adds suspense, conflict or the emotions needed. There have been many times when I’m reading a story I’ve set aside for awhile, as I worked on something else, and I’m surprised (don’t laugh) by foreshadowing that I hadn’t realized I’d included back when I first wrote it. Or there are twists to the story that I don’t remember, even though I know I’m the one who wrote it. (Yes, I sometimes amaze myself)
And, no, I’m not generally forgetful. Most times I remember my stories, the characters and data, enough so that I can pick it up and start writing if it has sat for six months or more. I remember stories that I wrote thirty some years ago, though as I once mentioned, I’d need to rewrite them to be worthy of publication.
The important aspect of the story is the voice of whoever is telling the story, whether it’s me or a character. So when a scene with a strong voice, like the meeting of those characters I mentioned before, starts up in my mind I pay attention and play with it, bringing it more into the open, making it real. Then I write it down so I don’t lose the flavor or tone.
Yes, I do use notebooks and pens.