Some of this will be a repetition. Sorry, but I think it'll be helpful to get the point (such as it is) across.
I've published three books so far and a fourth, the second volume of the Just Lucky story, is scheduled to be published this fall. I am now putting the finishing touches on a fifth novel, a paranormal romance/thriller.
In none of those cases did I decide to write something and then try to come up with a story. Prophecy of Honor just popped into my head one day at work and after three days of thinking about it during "mental downtime" I had the whole story in my head.
Witchery was written originally in 1990-91. Again, I did not decide to write a book; the story just evolved in my mind. I know for sure that Robert Heinlein's novella "Magic, Inc." played a huge influence in the development of the characters and the magic.
The two adult fiction novels, Just Lucky, Book 1: Friends and Enemies and Book 2: Love and Hate are two books totaling just under 200,000 words were taken from an original manuscript of over 300,000 words. Again, I did not sit down with a blank page (on a computer) and decide to write a novel. The story decided it wanted me to write it.
Yeah, I know. Sounds weird. In about 1995, give or take a year, I wrote a short story as a sort of present for a friend. So, yeah, I did decide to write a short story. But the main character of that story kept bugging me for years to tell more of his story. How did he acquire his major permanent disability? How did he come to be married to an incredibly beautiful and athletic woman?
So I wrote it all out. Although I had to make decisions about the characters, the story itself never required any contemplation. It just proceeded. Much of it was easy because I set most of the story at the University of Northern Colorado about 1969 and a few years past. The same years I attended UNC. Many of the minor incidents in both novels are based on actual events. I admit this in the front of the book. The hard work was the editing and specifically what to leave out.
The paranormal romance, Saving Atlantis, is in some ways the same. I read Stephen King's novel, Bag of Bones. I liked the novel but I did not like the narrator—the hero—Mike Noonan. I thought he was weak both in body and in character. I wanted to write a book where a similar character did things the way I thought they should be done. At the same time I couldn't use the same plot and characters and situations that King used.
After a few days of contemplation I had the main characters and the basic plot.
So what? I'm getting to that. My point is that up to Saving Atlantis I never decided ahead of time to write a novel. The stories just came to me from outside sources.
As I finished up the editing for Saving Atlantis and made preparations for getting it published, I had the thought that now I needed to start another one.
I've been influenced at Writers Conferences and the recent Writers Open Forum by other authors that have written a fantasy series. I'm envious of the banners and other props they can bring to a gathering featuring their series.
So for what is really my first time, I decided not only to write a fantasy series, but I had to decide what to write without having any outside spur. I had to come up with something new all on my own, plus forming a story long and complex enough to carry through at least three full-length novels.
The following few paragraphs about the muse are inspired by Lee Allen Hill's essay on the Writers Table tab in this week's issue of Page and Spine: www.pagespineficshowcase.com
This is the point where some writers or would-be writers wait on their "muse" to visit them. They expect some tangible influence to show them where to go, what to write, how to fill that blank page with good words.
I never have been sure what "the muse" is. Does the muse supply ideas of what to write, or how to write it? Or both?
Either I don't need a muse or my muse is synonymous with my creative thinking.
It took me about ten minutes of thought to come up with a theme, a general story line, and the opening scene. Another few minutes and I had the two main characters. Over the course of the next week (this last week) I have four additional significant characters and a host of minor ones, questions to be raised in the first book and answered in later ones, and the cliff-hanger end of the first book.
I've made notes about all this. Next time, I won't reveal any details, but I will share a few things about preparing to write a series.
For now, I want to repeat something I've written here before. If you're interested at all in being a writer, you will find these blogs or newsletter very helpful—no, more than that. They are pretty close to must-reads. You should subscribe: (they're free)