I think it is extremely interesting as to how an idea goes from first inspiration to completed manuscript. How does this process work itself out for you? And have you come up with a method after trial and error with other projects?
Perhaps you can give an example of how one of your novels came about? What inspired the original world concept? Or did you start with a specific character you wanted to make? And then what? Also, what did you do once you had a basic story and world? Did you do anything to make it truly original or complex?
April 10th, 2003, 02:26 PM
The current work started off as a series of images I saw developing into a film (movie). I actually wanted to hold out on the concept until I was very established, then see if I could produce it. But I'm a struggling writer struggling uphill, so my first published novel it will be - and it will be.
Lots of little inspirations. Try to squeeze them into whatever I'm writing. Detail is everything.
April 10th, 2003, 03:26 PM
D'rakken Mahre (coming soon from Equilibruim) came about after about a year of world building, which is something I enjoy as a hobby. The place ended up with some interesting political structures, and one night I wondered what would happen if a certain type of protagonist were dropped into this less than stable political environment. Well, the notes started building and soon it seemed I had a world that was coming to the brink of some very, very, bad things. At that point, the world building stopped and I started doing some writing. I spent about 7 years writing and re-writing before I felt that I had it right. Then, I realized that there was something missing, a major aspect to the story that had not been uncovered and I went back to my history notes and discovered that there was a master plot in the offing... a master plot several millenia in the building that was unfolding in my books through the protagonist agent. Well, had to go and really rewrite and expand the materials at that point to throw the reader for a loop and add some serious depth and danger to the mix. There are times I think that I just wanted to create a major version of the story "Because a bug went Achoo" (kids story about chain events) and see just how much a world can be impacted by one small event at a time.
Never had so much fun writing as I did getting that thing into print!
April 10th, 2003, 05:13 PM
My novel is basically a combination of a few attempts to start a novel beforehand. You see, I would begin writing a piece, after much preparation. Then I would hit an unforeseen roadblock and have to start with another concept.
Nevertheless, pieces of the original concept are dragged along to the next one.
It also came to pass that I wrote the entire outline to a novel on paper...I drew a map and everything. Unfortunately, I lost the entire thing in a move. When I started over again, I had better ideas and made a new story that was related to the one I lost.
April 10th, 2003, 05:38 PM
My masterpiece, which is for the moment on the backburner, is a space opera trilogy. The ideas in the story are huge and the story itself is immensely complicated and intricate. But the story itself has very humble beginnings.
When I was in sixth or seventh grade my english class was given a writing assignment: write a story. No other guidelines than that. I was of course a sci-fi freak, and I think I had recently seen Independence Day. So I wrote a little story about bad alien dudes who took over Earth, and then got kicked off by a human underground.
A year later I had to do another writing assignment. I decided, hey, a sequel would be cool. So a now technologically advanced humanity enters a galactic community, colonizes a world, finds it populated by the same bad aliens, and then destroys the world with amazing technology. Later that year a third assignment was given to me, a second sequel was written. A few of the aliens, in a last ditch attempt to get revenge on Earth, fly over to Earth and launch an attack. The humans, allied with these strange bird people, defeat the aliens again, kill their king, and repel the attack.
The story was childish, without any characterization, and with many, many plotholes.
So naturally, a few years later, I decided that it must be made to look a little better. The same basic plot was retained but with a much greater focus on the galactic community and with mcuh greater skill being applied to the piece. I gave up pretty quickly, because at the time I was terribly depressed and only writing so that I didn't do something bad.
A year later though, which would be about a year ago, my skill once more much improved, I began again. This time, however, I considered one of the species I created in the original sequel, these powerful telepaths that gave psychic ftl to the humans. I focused on them, their origins, their motives, and the story began to develop well past the original.
Then, in an attempt to maintain the plotline, I developed this huge backstory that made everything work. I realized this was sort of contrived, and began to mold the story so that it was a tad more realistic. But the huge backstory stayed, and continued to grow, and began to shape new elements in the story.
Eventually I had a huge project before me that was three novels. The first one a much expanded version of the first story, the second one encompassing the second and third stories, and the third novel creating a grand conclusion that explained the origin of everything, even the universe itself.
All of this because I watched Independence Day in a large theatre and was given an open writing assignment in English six years ago.
April 11th, 2003, 11:26 AM
Well I think it's clear that many different and tortuous paths lead to plot development. :) And it also can vary project to project. I hit a roadblock on a project I'd been thinking about for a very long time and while I was wrestling with that, I had an idea for a character who might be a potential star for his own novels, and my thoughts kept drifting back to this character and before you know it, I was sitting down and writing five pages for a story that had no plot. And it still doesn't have much plot -- certainly no outline, though I've gone and done some research and it's slowly filling out. But on this project, I'm pretty much making it up as I go. The other day, character gets to the village, I'm thinking okay what's there that he sees and oh my, there's a dog sitting in the road. The dog is going to be owned by this other character, see, so now the dog, which didn't exist up until that point, is a major animal character in the thing, and don't ask me why that happened because I don't know. Just my right brain trying to entertain me, I guess. Perhaps the dog will remain in the story -- perhaps he'll be very important. Perhaps I'll cut him out of the whole thing. Very little in a written work is set in stone -- unless that's what works for you. :)
But other projects have more preplanning. I got an idea fixed in my head and I started creating a set-up to accomodate it. Since this is more of a thriller type story, I have to figure out several key plot points before I can really start writing it. Some stories you work backwards, some stories you drift into. I once got a short story idea from a bumpersticker on someone's car and another when a bunch of us were trying to remember the words to a nursery rhyme.
Little things that catch your attention are the bits that usually get turned into stories and story people, I think. One thing I've noticed is that writers tend to be oriented toward noticing people (characters,) imagery (settings, description,) or plot issues (things that happen or potentially could happen,) and their stories tend to stem from those things, though not exclusively.