Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Epiphany

I know I had a more serious post planned for today. Something about the nuts and bolts of writing. For the life of me, though, I can't remember what the topic was. It'll come back when my brain settles.

But what puts you in such a state, you ask?  (well, maybe not, and besides it's in the title, but I'll act as though I hadn't noticed).

Yesterday as I walked to class, I had a writing epiphany.

Not on WHITE ECHOES. It's another story, one I have carried with me for longer than I even write novels. All I had was a character, born from a short-lived game of roleplaying. I created tons of RP characters in my years, and they all tend to vanish.

Not this one.

For six years he waited in my head. Once, I tried writing his story. I blocked after 4000 words. I had no idea where this was going. I did not like what he was becoming. Every few hundred words, he also said or thought something horrible. Fezim is as twisted, disgusting and complex a character as I've ever done, but he happens to be charming and funny. It is so hard to balance the two. Especially when you have no idea where this is all going. In a way, I didn't feel safe with him 'in control' of the storyline.

But it's over now! With a 30-minute walk under big snowflakes, chatting up with friends, I somehow saw the ending. Within two hours I had drafted three scenes, including the last one and now my mind is bubbling with subplots and main characters.

This is going to be fun.

I do need to remember, however, to finish WHITE ECHOES' draft before I give in entirely to the Shiny New (well, somewhat new) Idea.

Isn't it fun when this happens? How do you guys deal with the new ideas? I normally just jot them down and move on. Any other tricks?


  1. I go to them every time I feel resistance on my main WiP.


  2. Interesting that this character came from an RPG. I used the same handful of characters for all the years that I played such games, and those characters stuck in my mind for more than twenty years until I finally began to craft a story around them. It was kind of nice to already know them.

  3. What Misha said. I have MS Office 2010 that allows me to jot down stuff in OneNote no matter what p.c. I'm on (home or work) and I can access them with a click. They're a great resource when you are struggling to come up with something.

    I also wanted to mention that RPG's are a great source of getting a feel for a character in my opinion and shouldn't be overlooked or scorned by any writers.

    It begs the question though...is there really much difference between being a writer and roleplaying something?

  4. Ted, Michael: I've used other RPGs characters elsewhere. Most often they are those whose tales still appeal to me out of their original context. In fact, looking at it, only one of my novels has no RPG characters. And it's the one set in a high fantasy world I was building for RPG. ;)

    To me these characters last because their story begs to be told and shared. And gosh, Ted, 20 years is a loong time!

    Misha: Oh, I am definitely taking notes. This is too precious to forget!

  5. I usually jot them down, or a paragraph or two and forget about them. Except last year I opened an old document that I hadn't touched in years (didn't do much writing at all in that time) and now Never Remember is a finished ms. Completely different than the original plan (except I can't remember what that was), but I'm definitely happy with what it became!

  6. I think it depends on the RPG (the diff between gaming and writing) and who's playing. But I agree that they're a great source of inspiration and resource for exploring characters. And they open up the opportunity for pages and pages and pages of writing.

    I've had trouble translating them to full works, though, particularly ones that were developed through highly collaborative story lines. I've found it hard to extract the character from stories I felt I didn't wholly own.

  7. You're character sounds really interesting, I love characters that are twisted and charming :D

    Sounds cool!

    As for how I deal with ideas, I just write them down in a journal and save it for later. But if it's a very good idea I work on it some and add to it, even if I'm working on something else. Working on two stories at the same times isn't something I've done yet but is something I'll probably end up doing soon.

    Have fun with this new idea!

  8. Mo: I transformed a RP into full work only twice (counting this new idea) and always, it was by taking a partly developped storyline and making it whole. Otherwise, it's mostly reusing minor NPCs I felt had potential.

    Sounds like jotting it down and moving on is the agreed idea. It works well enough for now, but knowing this character, he'll haunt me again before long. XD

  9. I sit down and write everything down that has come to me so I don't forget it. Then I stick it in a folder called Ideas and come back to it when I'm done with what I'm working on.