Sorry about no dragon post last Friday. As predicted on Monday, Pokemon Go is taking up a lot of my time. Including that which I would spend writing, and basically doing anything else. Even with all the server troubles over the weekend. So before I attempt to get back on track with what I schedules myself to be doing, here’s my dragon Pokemon. Currently, the only Dragon type (apart from its evolutions) in the first generation.

Dratini

My Dratini!

Now onto the actual writing topic. Today’s post comes from a conversation I had last night. The actual conversation revolved around the Princess the Hopeful game that me and the partner play in. My character has recently done something quite unusual, and there’s going to be a lot of, not consequences as such, but certainly aftereffects. Because I was thinking so much about that, I had a dream about my character the other day, in which another Princess had a crush on my Princess, a third Princess wanted to do the thing I had done so we were investigating ways for her to do that, there was a fire and a burning building, a big baddie, and some other stuff, hard to remember exactly what but it was a cool dream. I then went on to outline the things I had been thinking about since then, and the ways in which this dream had developed into a sort of story in my head. Not one I think that will happen in the game (well, maybe some parts of it will) but as I was talking about this, my partner went ‘Wait, you dreamed all of this?’ to which I responded ‘Well, not all of it. It started with the dream and since then I’ve just been thinking about it, kind of day dreaming really, and it’s progressed from there.’

And that was what got me thinking about this – my ideas for stories and how they develop. As just mentioned, dreams are a fairly common starting point for me. I’ll dream about something, part of it will really stick in my head (I dream most nights and can remember a fair chunk of them the next morning usually, it’s handy) and then I’ll keep thinking about it the next day.

DreamDreams I have in the last week include getting stuck with the children of a friend after she died, the Princess dream, and a dream where I needed to steal colouring pencils from a witch. I kind of find this a little bit, what the word, recursive? Because dreams are meant to be the way in which you process, store and deal with events from the real world, but my dreams rarely are entirely mundane. That, and I get so many ideas from them, that if they are simply reflections of the real world, then I am getting ideas from my memories which is stuff I’ve already seen but I don’t get the idea until it’s presented in dream form. I’m probably grossly overthinking this, but it always seems a little odd to me. Not odd enough to stop using them as starting points.

Of course there are other starting points. Dreams is my most common, but sometimes I can just have an idle thought in the middle of the day, I can overhear something someone says or does in conversation and that can have a bit of a spark. But given that I write fantasy, I tend to find my inspiration in the most fantasy steeped setting, and for me that is my dreams.

But what about afterwards? Once I have that idea, how does it develop? Time and thinking, are the basic ingredients. I’ve done a lot of reading, I’ve written a fair few novels now (even if none of them are close to publish worthy) so I know various events and actions and plots that can happen. Choosing which one does happen? Well, often I’ll go through several different ideas for the same scene, think about it, imagine it, play it out in my head multiple times, and then settle down on the idea.

Take the Princess dream from above. I know that there was another Princess, and there was a fire. So, going on from the fire, I have the idea that it would be cool to have her lose one of her arms and have it replaced with living metal (it makes sense within the setting, she is in the court associated with the element of metal) whilst everyone else thinks she’s dead and goes after the big bad. So that’s fine up to that point, but then comes the big reveal, the whole classic ‘she isn’t actually dead’ thing, and that’s where I’ve gotten to – how is that going to play out?

Ideas 2I have several ideas, from jumping in from the balcony/roof, to just walking through the door, to she was actually found in the fire by the big bad and doing it from that angle. How is it going to resolve? No idea. I may or may not write this down as a sort of fanfiction thing, at which point I would need to choose, but right now I’m experimenting with the ideas. I’ll take one of them, spend some time imagining it and playing it out in my head, how the character would react, what they would say, what are the feelings going on around the room, how can it develop from this point and all those sorts of things. And eventually, one idea will suggest itself to me as more of the right way of playing that scene out and that’ll be the one I write.

And this process pretty much goes for all of my novels. Start with an idea, think on it for a while, write it down, think of it some more, come back with new ideas and edit those in, and repeat until I think I have a story. That last bit has yet to happen to a point I am satisfied with for most of my novels, but I’m certainly getting there. It’s a looping process, but it works for me. And I certainly enjoy visualising all the scenes in my head, it’s one of my favourite parts of writing.

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