J-A’s Writing Process – Step 1 – The Idea

I have a confession to make – I’m not an ideas person.  I’m not one of these super-creative people who have ‘light bulb moments’ when an innovative idea comes to mind out of the blue and fills me with inspiration and passion.  That’s why I don’t writing science fiction – I don’t have any idea what the future will look like until someone tells me. 

So when someone asked me ‘how do you get ideas’, I had to really think.  The answer for me is that over time, I get a small collection of things I’m interested in, and then when I need an idea, I sit down and play around something off that list.  This is why a notebook is important.  Because it’s hard for me to come up with ideas, I need to note where I’ve had an interesting thought and then I can maybe use my knowledge of the writing craft to drag an idea out of it.

Examples of where I get these ‘pre-ideas’ from are:

  • dreams
  • a place I’ve been to
  • emotional intrigues in something I’ve read in a newspaper or seen on the news
  • interesting jobs or settings from history I’m reading about

Anyhow, you get the picture.  Then I sit down and work out what characters in these scenarios might be like, what fantasy setting I can apply to it and what kind of conflict might happen in it. 

Alas, no light bulb goes off and sometimes it can take ages to pull it all out.  Perhaps that’s why I write fantasy, so I only have to go through this idea generation thing every 3 books (provided one sells!).

If anyone else has ideas of how to get ideas, would love to hear about them.

Upcoming New Fiction

I’m pleased to announce that a couple of talented writers I know have had success in getting their novels published!

Graham Storrs is an Australian science fiction writer who has just announced that his book Timesplash will shortly be available in e-book form from publisher Lyrical Press Inc.  Click on Graham’s name for a look at his blog and more information.

Luke Keioskie is also an Australian speculative fiction author, and has just published his zombie book Dead America with publisher Severed Press.  To get a taste, click here and see Luke’s website for the book, complete with sample chapters and info on how to get a copy.

Well done guys!

The trilogy and how it works in fantasy

J-A is a very happy author, having reached 61,597 words.  Only a few more to go til finished (at 100,000 – I’m in denial, I suspect).

And that brings me to a point.  When selecting the genre you’re writing, it’s important to get an idea of how many words you’ll need to write.  If you’re thinking fantasy, you’re looking at a minimum of 100,000 words per book, and you have to write in trilogies.  At least until you’re famous with a firm fan base, then you can maybe stretch the genre a little.

This sounds like a huge undertaking, and it is, but I find it helps to think about it in terms of ‘beginning (setting up and things start getting wobbly), middle (or transition) and end (protagonist triumphs, evil is overthrown and everything’s OK again)’. 

In Book one, we meet the protagonist, find out who he or she is, what conflict they’re facing and how overpowering this conflict seems.  The status quo ends for the protagonist, and they’re gradually faced with ever increasing problems. End of book one – the protagonist has just gotten themselves into deep trouble. 

Book two is about the protagonist going through hell, so he or she has the wind knocked out of them, they’re wiped out and then build themselves back up again until they’re ready to come out fighting (end Book two).

Book three is about the protagonist (and chronies of course) saying ‘Bother it!  I’m strong!  I can do this’ and throwing themselves back into the fray with a new purpose and energy.  They win, and everything is better than it was before.

Those are my thoughts anyway.  It works for me.  Still, no denying it, 100,000 is a lot of words … better get back to it.