Monday, September 7, 2009

The END is near...

For the last couple months I've been in the world building process for my RC fantasy/paranormal. Reading everything I can put my hands on in the fantasy/ paranormal, mystery and thriller genres has helped me eliminate those aspects of the world that I don't want to use, what kind of tone I'm setting, how my voice will affect overall plot. How dark is it going to be? What subgenre is it likely to fall into? Will it be a series with the same main characters or different hero/heroine in each? Butcher, Arthur, Mead, Coley, Elrod, Harris, Sparks, Evanovich, Vincent, Murphy, McCaffrey, Kellogg, Aiken, Causey, Kirton, Davidson, and lately a fellow writer suggested Ellory adn Kerr. Like I said, everything I could find. Truly, the worlds that authors create are as varied as their voices, no matter the subject or similarity of species.

I'm a pantser so doing an intricate outline or knowing exactly what's going to happen when isn't in the cards. But I want to understand the characters' personalities, the paranormal beings and the rules of their species, and put down some of the scenes that have been playing in my head. Though necessary, the prep phase has turned into a time consuming and sleep-disrupting task. I know I won't know everything - I could probably keep doing this for a year. But the more I understand when I move forward, the easier it will be to wing it as I go.

I said sleep-disrupting. Last night I dreamed that the stars were turning into supernovas while we watched and before I could get out of the dream, the weather was changing, the earth was going dark and complete DOOM was near. There were some particularly nasty creatures on the way as well. It was one of those dreams that even as the clarity of the detail fades, the feeling of doom remains. Not like most nights when I awake around 4am and have creative and usable ideas to jot down. This morning, I just wanted to escape to the real world to cleanse my brain with sunny skies and the everyday doldrums of the bayou. I may have to meditate tonight or watch a child's Disney movie like DUMBO before bedtime. Maybe it's a sign that the end of the preparation phase is drawing to a close. I wonder if I'll know when it's time. I sure do want to get back into the story.

My best ideas yesterday came while washing my hair in the shower, a veritable flood of insight. I wasn't even aware that I'd been thinking about the book. It was a giant leap for RC, some of the core elements for my main character's background came together which made some plotpoints (from my very sketchy plot) fall into place. Normally, a two hour drive will set the creative juices flowing but a shower is less expensive, don't you know?

Where do you get your inspiration? When you're blocked or doing the prepwork for your book, what strategies do you use?


Michael Malone said...

Ideas come to me when I'm doing anything else but writing. Working out can be a good place for ideas, but I get strange looks when I borrow a pen from the desk and write stuff down on a sweat towel.

Anonymous said...

That's right, the treadmill is a great thought generator. Too bad I fell off the treadmill wagon a couple weeks ago. Now I have new motivation - I need it for story prep.

I can relate to the funny looks.