Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Why I write, and How

I'd like to tell you a little about my process and why I write Paranormal Fantasy.

My process for coming up with a story is like any writers--it's not.  Which is to say that every writer has a different process.  There are similarities of course.  Many get their ideas from dreams and random thoughts or conversations.  I am one of those writers.

My process is something you could compare to an onion, like on Shrek, when he says Ogres have layers, so does my work.

The process begins with layer one: the idea.  The idea acts as the inner most layer and the basis for everything that goes on top of it.

Layer two is the cast of characters.  Once I have an idea I figure out exactly who I want to put in the situation my idea describes.  Do I want vampires? Do I want witches? What are the humans like? I figure out the personalities of everyone involved in the story and how they are important to the onion.

Layer three: Setting.  Where does my story take place? When does my story take place? Why Hawaii and not Alaska?  These are questions I have to ask myself.

Layer four: Elements.  When I say "elements" I mean, What do I want to include in the story to make it more interesting?  Love? Action?  Evil lurking around every corner?  Magic?  Friendship?  Lust?  Family problems?  Mystery?  Then I have to figure out how to balance these elements so that only a few are in the spot light at one time in the story.  Having more than two or three elements as part of a climax can be both confusing and take away from whichever one should be the most important at the time.

Then there are other layers, like the development of my world, the development of my timeline and the pacing of the story that hold the other layers in place.

The layers compell me to keep going with the story I'm writing and to peel them back to reveal the core of what the story is.

And that's how you write a book.  Layers.  Sometimes, if I find a layer is lacking, I can go back and make that layer thicker throughout the story.  Broaden it and deepen it.  Am I confusing you yet?  Good, because that's how I feel half the time I'm writing.  Once you peel open those layers, you'll see that I didn't need an outline and that because I had the layers, it developed itself.

So there you have it.  That is my writing process in a nutshell.  Layers are just so much better when you have the paranormal element involved.  That's why most of my stories include that element.  The paranormal element can pretty much be a layer of it's own, and I feel that strengthens my stories.