Friday 12th March 2020
As a general rule, I don’t like to talk about my actual ideas.
Normally, it’ll be a scene or a character or a even a phrase that I make a point of writing down. At some point I might try that idea within other ideas in my notebook. Like solving a jigsaw puzzle, I try every new piece against what I already have to see if there’s a fit.
Ideas will spin out to become something more. Connecting two ideas, might give me another 5 new pieces of the puzzle to connect. And so an idea grows into a book.
But, my ideas can very much be like the ship of Theseus. The initial idea might be a setting, from which I connect to a character and start to develop a plot. But at some point I might switch out that original setting for something new. Characters might change along the way as well. And so I may, over time, end up with something that is very different from the original idea.
I’ve got an epic fantasy idea that’s a bit like that. It started with a character, and this week I swapped that character out.
But then, somedays, like today… a book comes to me fully formed.
I woke this morning, my first thought being this book. I’ve heard several people say about how my characters are often a lot of fun, and that’s definitely something that I struggle with when I’m stressed or depressed. I like writing dark, but it needs contrasting with light. When I’m down or stressed or living under a pandemic, there doesn’t tend to be a lot of light.
So this idea surprised me because it’s fun. At first I thought it might be a YA book, and whilst I’m not against that, because it seems so much fun, I probably want to pair it with a lot of horror and let my Clive Barker influences shine through.
But I have characters, I have setting, and I have the beginnings of a plot. So much so that I already started outlining it. I have a very clear POV for the start. I might even have a voice, but I’m not sure if I want to maintain that POV through the entire book.
I’m using a template for mapping out my plot and have started filling it in. I have some idea of subplots and the bit overarcing plot but still no real idea of how it all connects together. That’s OK. This is where I put on some music, do some activity and just think.
I often feel guilty just thinking as it doesn’t feel like work but it certainly is. I’ve just sat here with music and some Shadows of Brimstone models to glue and thought about various things. OK, if this character has this restraint here, how does this happen on the page? How can I make things worse for the protagonist? What’s this secondary character’s arc? What are their fears and wants? What if instead of doing X, I do Y?
I think I could already write the opening chapters, but I want to spend the weekend working on some of the larger story items.
I think it could be a fun book to write and to read. I just need to put in some of the heavy thought work to build out this plot.
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