Getting in at the Ground Floor

In the two years and three months since I started writing fiction in earnest, I’ve met hundreds of new and established writers. Each one has a unique way of writing, I’ve discovered. However, to those just considering starting on a journey to write a book, the prospect can be daunting.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to post here my process in creating a book from scratch. There are, as I’ve implied, any number of ways to do it. For my last two books, for instance, I went about the process quite differently.

In writing Emprise, for example, I carefully plotted out each chapter, sticking as closely to my outline as possible. It was designed to be the finale of my 1st trilogy, and needed to both bring in new readers, and close all loose ends from the prior two books. Given that, I did not want to leave the plot flow to chance.

For Hard as Roxx, I did just the opposite. The book takes place in the 22nd century, after decades of war, disease, and declining political structures wreaked havoc on society. I wanted the book to be spontaneous, consisting of a small family group trying to survive against a society determined to exterminate them.

As such, I knew 1) the characters, 2) the big “What If?”, and 3) the ending. Then, I began to write the book. I let the characters lead the story. It turned out to be quite a chase.

So now I’ve written books by intricately mapping out the plot, by winging the hell out of it, and via a hybrid of the two. Which leads me to my next project:

I haven’t decided how much plotting I will do for Dark. Some of it depends on the final genre I decided. For now, it feels like a combination mystery and Urban Sci Fi. Now, I don’t know if there is such a thing as urban Sci Fi or not. I frankly don’t give a shit.

There will be when I’ve finished.

Obviously, if the mystery/thriller idea sticks, there will be serious plotting before I start writing. One thing to note about my plotting. I outline by writing who is in the scene, in whose voice it is narrated, and what the major objectives are. In some instances, I brainstorm before writing, which more or less consists of my writing extemporaneously. However, when I write the actual scene, I just let it flow. All of the actions and dialog are created on the fly. For the types of books I write, I think that works best. Dialog, I believe, should be created in a manner similar to real speech. I never think in advance who will say what. They just say it, or don’t.

Given all of this, I think Dark (the lead character’s name) will consist of a loose plot outline, with some key scenes proscribed. All of the action scenes, however, will flow from the character development.

So, that’s the start of it. Or, rather, it started with this video.

Like Roxx, my next book started with an idea for a character, adapted from the visuals and the mood of a song. For Roxx, it was “Do It Like a Dude.” Jeanne Dark wonders “Who Will Comfort Me?” The better question is, “who will comfort those who cross her?”

Voice – This book will be written in a serious, more poetic and lyrical style. It will either be first person (15% chance), or entirely in Jeanne’s perspective, with the exception of a few chapters that are in Juliette’s and Foster’s (85%). Third-person intimate.

Jeanne (Zhahn) Camille Dark – She hates that Americans call her “Jeen.” She was hit by a vehicle on her sixteenth birthday. The characterization will dive into the effects of her brain’s central mapping having been disrupted, and then, whilst she was in coma, re-mapping itself in a way never unseen. She can “read” people. She sees auras. She sees images of the people in the form of her brain’s interpretation of electrical signals it gets from their brains. The effect is that when she sees something, her strong intuition effects what she sees, and her subconscious maps it with images that she has encountered anywhere, including dreams. Therefore, she sees what she believes them to look like, irrespective of what they do look like.

Without her glasses, all is in a hazy, light-filled glow. In the midst of that are the images she gets of them. She sees various forms, most of which she finds disturbing. She never removes her glasses, not because of the pain of the light, but because of the mental pain of the Dark that she sees.

And so, it goes.

8 Comments

  1. I love that only by having her vision disrupted can she really ‘see’ people…so excited to watch this process.

    The video was amazing.

    1. Thanks! To me, the hardest part of being a writer, is coming up with the initial idea, the “Suppose” or “What if” and then wondering if everyone else will think it was the dumbest idea they ever heard of.

      1. I battle this with every post – cannot imagine battling it with a whole book – but you have great premise.

        I love novels that involve people’s true nature being revealed despite all their efforts to conceal it. Is the theme of our world right now.

  2. I just created a station on Pandora with just her music – I have never heard of her before…thank you for introducing her…

  3. Glad I could be of service. 🙂

    And you are right about the nature of our world, though I had not thought of it before. Google, Anonymous, and Facebook seem to have revealing the true nature of our world as their raison d’etre. One of the premises of my SciFi book is that all of these efforts in the 21st century lead to no one’s data or intellectual property being secure, and thus, people stop using internets, stop developing technology and art, because there is no longer a way to derive income from them.

  4. Maybe not be sci-fi for long I am afraid.

  5. I’m a pantser until half way through the book then I have to figure out how to get them to the end- which I usually have figured out. However my YA is a series and I need to plot out not only the story line at least generally but I also have to plot out their growth arch for each character- some will have to die 😦

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