A Brand New Novel; Alternatively, I Have No Idea What I am Doing

When anyone asks me what my writing process is like I want to dramatically laugh, do jazz hands, and say: I HAVE NO IDEA.

Other than sitting down in front of a piece of paper, computer, or stone tablet I have no idea where this begins.

What is the process of starting a new story? Where do you begin? At the beginning? At the end? Somewhere in the muddled middle? Does it begin with a character? A world? A plot? An image? Do you sit down and stare at your computer until boredom outweighs the fear of the blank page?

For me, I think 95% of the time it’s that last one.

Which brings me to my next point.

I just started a brand new novel.

It’s hard to say if it will actually get any farther than a few chapters before it falls into the oblivion that is the majority of my “Writing in Progress” file. However, a shiny new first chapter has been written under the cover of night fueled by iced tea, crackers, and electronica. (I should have known this story was already going someplace weird when I clicked on an electronica station on Pandora. Normally it’s all orchestral when I am drafting. Really it’s just this. On repeat.)

Several major projects are in the works right now that I should be writing, rewriting, editing, and well… editing some more. Did I mention the editing? Instead of doing any of that, I plopped myself down at 2 a.m. to fling down an image I couldn’t shake from my brain: A fairy clinging to the bars of a motorcycle plummeting down a set of stairs into a metal prison.

Of the pillars of storytelling: plot, setting, or character, I will almost always be drawn by a character over anything else. I am not saying my characters emerge fully-clad in their plot armor à la Athena. It’s a far messier process than that. What I am saying is that in my endeavors setting tends to emerge last as a landscape forged by the characters, rather than the force acting upon the characters.

This is all a rambling way to say that a massive set of metal stairs leading into the depths was a bit out of my depths. I didn’t know where I was going with this. No characters. No plot. Just a bit of setting. Nothing but that image consistently whirling around my brain for days.

78: For some reason that was the random number of stairs the motorcycle was flying across. In lieu of actually knowing what to do from here, I typed that number into Google. Off we go into the wonderful world of the internet…

78: the atomic number of platinum–The best villains do have platinum hair.

78: the number of gifts in The Twelve Days of Christmas– Fairy on a motorcycle, not a partridge on a pear tree.

78: the number of lines that make up Metatron’s Cube– Another story I’m working on has geometric magic in it. One series is enough to make my brain hurt.

78: The number of cards in a typical tarot deck– Oh, I can work with that. An urban fantasy with a dose of dystopia based on the tarot… It’s time to rewrite The Fool.

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