Somewhere in all the flotsam and jetsam and the meanderings of a writer’s mind, there lives the spark that launches the ponderings into a fully fledged plot, something that pulls it all together and suggests that this could be the makings of something – for me it’s the dilemma in the climax.
It’s emotional. The moment goes something like this: “What if these characters have gone all through the story – survived all the challenges, fought against the odds and come out of it, scuffed and burned and scarred and wiser – and what if now, after they have come so far and gained so much, they’re here in this place where there is no exit. What if here they face their biggest challenge, but this time there is no way out. This time they know they are going to die.”
Yep – that’s what triggered the Khekarian Series – that’s where I’m aiming for in book four, the climax I had planned before the series was born and before the first story expanded into first three, then four books. The series goes beyond that point (you bet), but initially this is where I was aiming.
From that scene alone, characters formed. From that scene came the camaraderie and deep emotion as a small group of people realize the hopelessness of their situation. They know that if they are brought from this place alive it will be to face a prolonged and torturous end, so death is their best bet. Emotional? Yes. Not in the weeping surrendering sense, but in the determined trying to find a way out sense. (How would you feel?)
Of course I have complicated and enriched the problem several times over by adding twists and turns that I will not reveal here, but that add a lot of extra tension to the plot (I’m not going to spoil it, now, am I).
I have the scene already written. It has gone through several drafts and will go through some more when I get there and the rest of that story shapes around it. I have the closing sentence of book four already cast in stone.
What happens is also cast in stone.
Meanwhile, from that starting-ending point, I took those few characters and worked them back to the beginnings of the story. Where would they have come from? What are they doing? How did they become entangled in this mess? And so it grew.
For me? Emotion tied in with action and twisted into something unexpectedly delicious is my trigger. Something I’ve never seen or read anywhere else, ever.
What does it for you? What spark gives you the “Ah-ha!” moment and makes you race for your keyboard or your pen and get going, knowing that it’s going to take you somewhere?
It’s a great journey, it has to start somewhere. 😀
I am one of those writers who invests a lot of thinking into a scene/story before writing. There are hardly drafts as a result. If a scene don’t click (believable) inside my head, it doesn’t come alive in form of writing. I’ve found out that I can’t expand beyond a draft after I must’ve put down one. That said, I think am sometimes at a disadvantageous position because every line matters for a writer. A draft could be the source of inspiration for the same tale or another after some time.
There are certainly many methods. I do as you do, I live and breathe a story or a group of characters and it has to work before I’ll dive in. I also don’t do a lot of drafts, the exception being my first book because I carried it with me for so long and I introduced a main character so late (Sevi). The next book and the one I’m working on now, get written once, then polished over – although polishing goes on every time I read it through.
I do find that as my work goes onto the page, an evolution happens, so for me the tale is never quite the same one I had inside my head. A lot of it has to do with time constraints inside the story – such as Va’el being 10. His age had to match in with his father’s age – if I made him older, Sturn would have to be older, but I want Sturn in his 30s now (not in his 40s) – things that just aren’t an issue in the forming-in-the-mind stage but have to be sorted out once it’s on paper. To me, Va’el always came in later at age 18 – Suddenly Sturn’s coming home and the boy can’t be invisible, so up he pops aged 10.
Hey – you’ve just given me something to blog about today! Thanks! 😀