Monday, June 11, 2012

Let's Talk...

Process! (a 2 part series, because it turned out longer than I meant)

People who know I wrote a book (all, like, 5 of you!) often ask me questions like how long did it take, or what sort of routine did I follow while writing. Well, dear blogledites, I shall now pull the curtain back and expose the mystery of my writing process to you!

Let's address the first question first: how long did it take me to write The Dark Man's Son. Ha. That's a funny question, really. I've been writing stories with the Guardian characters since I was probably 14. They've gone through a LOT of changes over the years. Originally there was just Alex (who had a different name; big surprise). Then I decided she had a brother, but he was dead. Then I decided that once upon a time there had been 100 Guardians, 50 Light and 50 Dark. Present day, there are only 2 left, and they've gotta duke it out for the Big Fight.

That idea didn't last very long. Too many complications to work out. Eventually I decided on the form they take now: 2 Guardians, one of each, and they've both existed since the beginning. Oh, wait. That took me a while to decide, too. I read Sandman by Neil Gaiman a few years ago, and that helped me to define my characters' age. How? Well, in Sandman, Dream and his siblings are called the Endless. I liked that. They (at least Death) were older than...pretty much everything. I thought about it, and I realized there'd be no need for Guardians until there were mortals. And then I decided they'd be the Youngest. Angels are the Eldest, I guess you could say, and then mortals, and then Guardians.

Anyway. It also took me 16 years to work out Alex herself. Her original incarnation was pretty much flawless, a beacon of shining light. It took a while for me to realize how boring that is. Alex now is...well, read and find out for yourself, but she's not exactly Mary Sunshine. Good is sometimes relative.

It takes a perspective a bit broader than a 14-year-old's to attempt to write an immortal being. I'm not saying I'm Ms. Worldly or anything, but time has helped a bit. I think the reason Alex faded into the background a bit more than I originally intended is because I felt sorta like Jason: an outsider looking into a world I didn't really understand. I have no idea what it would be like to exist for literally billions of years. What has she seen? What has she done? What sort of life is that?

Everything I've ever read has influenced this story. I'm talking obvious influences like Robin McKinley or Neil Gaiman or Cormac McCarthy, but also more subtle ones like Homer or Vasari's Lives of the Artists. I spent a long time in college -- I was on the 7 year plan -- and had quite a few majors before I decided on one. All of that has gone into this book in one way or another.

To answer the question a bit more directly (or to actually answer the damn question), once I sat down to start writing this particular book, it took me about 3 months to finish the first draft. I had some scenes written already, and I pulled some scenes from previous stories, but everything got reworked to fit this story. The scene where Alex and Luc meet Rorik was an old one. The opening scene of the book was a bit older than that. The scene where Jason first meets Cassius was the oldest of all, over 10 years. That one got reworked a lot.

Point is, an idea can take a long time to develop before it's ready. Sometimes it needs coaxing or refining. If it's a good idea, it'll work out. If it's not...well, forget it and come up with something better.  :) (she says like it's so easy)

Tune in tomorrow, dear blogledites, for Part 2 of this ramble: Process (for real)!


Joe Mieczkowski said...

Well explained ma'am

Have you ever listened to the I should be writing podcast? Mur Lafferty was the only way I ever could've attempted nanowrimo twice.

Screw Halo, I'm starting tonight.

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