I’m in the preliminary stages of writing my second novel. Five or six days a week, I spend an hour or two on it, and today I had a great little epiphany.
For this to make sense, I should run down my process for you.
This novel is an expansion and re-imagining of an unpublished short story of mine from a few years back, so I have a very good idea of the major characters, plot points, and general tone of the tale.
The first thing I did was jot down each of those characters, their role in the story, and what their goals are. I asked myself, “What does this person need?” Each character’s journey as they try to satisfy that need is, essentially, what drives the story.
Then the fun began. I started to write brief life stories for each character, from birth to the time just before the book begins. I needed to create a backstory for each character that would justify the extreme, dangerous positions they would put themselves into.
As I did this, I began to realize what I had envisioned as a light fantasy adventure was actually a rather dark, gritty fantasy. Hence my description here.
Today, I was working out the back story for someone I had assumed was a minor character. And something magical happened.
His backstory began to resonate and impact the rest of the book. Connections began to form. I could almost feel the neurons in my skull growing and branching and tangling together. A critical element of the book’s society revealed itself, and I spent some time fleshing that out.
An hour or so later, and I’ve got a book to write that’s more layered, more nuanced… more real than what I’d sat down with.
Other writers can relate to this… it’s a very cool thing, when it happens. My brain knows what to do with this story. And it’s sharing the information with me, which is nice. Of me. To do that. With, um, me.
The book is called Light Of The Outsider.