The Writer’s Life for Me

I’m setting out to plot a novel. It has a lot of roots in various ancient mythologies. In order to plot it I’m going to have to study the relevant aspects of mythology in order to build the world that my protagonist finds themselves. I intend to get down a rough draft of the plot outline before NaNoWriMo in November. Given the amount of research that I want to do, this is a formidable challenge.

I’ve said about all I’m comfortable with saying about the book until after I’ve written at least a first draft. I may wait longer. The main reason for my silence is that I wanted to write this book instead of telling it over and over again. It has been percolating in my subconscious ever since I thought of it several weeks ago.

I haven’t written much fantasy. I consider myself to be more of a science fiction writer than a fantasy writer. I did wander off into a fantasy where The Fairies are a real, long lived race of intelligent beings that have learned how to travel transdimensionally. It wasn’t a bad story, it just didn’t go anywhere. Hence, the project to plan my next novel a little more carefully.

I’m beginning to appreciate how hard it is to write a good novel. I suppose if anyone could do it, it wouldn’t be as highly prized as good novels are. It is a puzzle and a craft. You have to ask yourself so many questions about the characters and the settings. You have to know all the answers even to the secrets that the reader will never know. Even the villain needs to have an agenda. Everyone is the hero of there own story.

The key questions to ask are: “What does this character want?”, “What is standing in the way of my achieving my goal?”, and “How shall I go about achieving it?” Villains are often made quirky but if you want your story to hold up.

It’s also quite possible that there is no villain per se, only an antagonist that wants to deter the hero from achieving their goal. That may entail winning a zero sum game or being the first to accomplish the goal. In either case, it is not even absolutely necessary that the hero and the antagonist dislike each other. It might be interesting to have the hero like the antagonist or vice versa.

In any case, I need to start capturing my ideas so that I don’t forget them. I also need to get them finished by my deadline, not to mention work a forty hour week, and remain in my wife’s good graces. It really is hard being a writer.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.