Monday, May 16, 2016

Inspiration for my new fantasy novel came to me sideways fashion

I think it has been at least two years since my writer friend Marcy Peska offered to let me guest post on her blog. She gave me a set of possible topics which I perused but didn't feel any rise to write anything. But a few days later, I decided that writing about rules and how they give a sense of environment and expectations as well as challenges can help a writer create a story.

All very logical. Since magic was the topic, I began with explaining how having rules for magic created conflict: what if you needed it to work this way, but according to the rules it doesn't? Or what if the rules worked for able-bodied individuals but created a terrific burden for those missing a specific ability.

All very logical. I decided I needed to give an example. It makes it much easier to understand something if the one talking about the thing has something to point at. See, this is one. Turn it upside down, look for the make and model information on the bottom. Push a button, etc.

So I said what if every wielder of magic had to carry the source that contained the power used to perform magic. (And no not a wand.)

Jahl is a sixteen year old who has reached the age of wielding magic. He is young and carrying around a foot-square stone an inch thick and heavy with magic is not such a difficult thing to do, right? Except that Jahl has a twisted right leg that makes walking even a half a block an ordeal. But he wants to earn a living as a wielder. He's determined and uses the cheapest and simplest way to accomplish his goal. He goes to the store where he can rent a standing stone. Once he carries it to the customer, he must stand on it to have access to the magic. Fortunately, the store provides a site just to the left of the entrance where wielders can stand and hawk their magic talents.

Very reasonable way to build a client base. But what happens when the client wants Jahl to meet him somewhere? And there is the conflict.

So I had this nifty blog post about how rules can create story. And then I got very possessive. I didn't want to give away all the details of a great story, but without the "See, this is one," the post was worthless. I copied it and shoved it into an idea file on my computer and went back to working on my current #wip.

Marcy never go that guest post. What was I thinking? I should have just written another post.

But that story idea kept swinging back into my attention. And I kept pushing it aside. I had my book series (SciFi time travel) to work on. There was not time to work on a fantasy. Then why not send Marcy the post? Well, no, that was not going to happen.

Then last April, my contemporary novel about three women coming of older age was making me miserable. I could not write more than a couple of hundred words a day. I had the time. I had the desire, but nothing was coming that seemed to offer the book any real growth and development.

Then Jahl started walking through my creative mind. I thought, I just need to get away from Joanie & Friends for a while. Why not fiddle with this magic story (a short story I could finish in a week, two max).

So it's May now and the story that was to take me away from Joanie so I could freshen my muse a bit is 68,000 words in length. I write about 7,000 words a week. I think about it every opportunity. Jahl just keeps on fighting the good fight, so I haven't wanted to leave him.

Actually, I don't think I can. The boy needs to get this done. He must prove he can be a master wielder. He must find out who is responsible for the Wielder Wain that killed off nearly every wielder in Chussen Faire and left him crippled and every surviving wielder of the five Wielder Clans either too afraid to work magic or too afraid to return to Chussen Faire.

I just wanted to explain why I haven't been blogging lately. It's not that I have been lazing about doing nothing. I've been busy getting to know Jahl and watching him work through his challenges to become a master wielder. I figure a few more weeks and the draft will be done.

Marcy will get it as she is one of my best beta readers, and she'll forgive me for not sending that guest blog post two years ago, which by the way she has never mentioned as she is a forgiving soul, or forgetful. Either way, I think she won't mind this substitution. And she can claim inspirational initiating action to the story in a sort of sideways fashion. Just like I can claim I'm the reason my sister-in-law is happily married because she asked if there was anybody I knew who was the exact opposite of her ex and just wanted to go dancing. They're married, more than twenty years now, and I had a hand it that. Sideways fashion.

If you found this post interesting, feel free to comment or share it.

My new fantasy will be out I think by October and available at Smashwords and Amazon and other fine ebook retailers. Keep an eye out for the pre-order listing on Smashwords and other ebook retailers, though probably not Amazon as my account with them is not set up for pre-orders. No problem, Smashwords purchases can be downloaded in whatever reader format you have.


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