I’m not a planner. I literally can’t plan, because, for some reason, my mind thinks of a story as being done if it’s been plotted out. There’s nothing I can do to convince it otherwise, so I just write. Most of the time I have no idea where the story is going. I always start with an idea. Some of them are awake ideas. I get them from prompts, from images, from songs, and numerous other things. More of them are asleep ideas. I have the most active dreams, and a lot of the time they get turned into stories. Occasionally they’re a little too much to turn into stories. I have a whole list of things I’ve got from dreams still to work on. If you want an example then there was a dream I had about stepping through a door onto another world, and on that world it was winter all the time. That moment turned into a whole collection of stories – the World Walkers.
So once I’ve got an idea I start writing. I use Scrivener, because it’s easier to keep everything together. Before I had Scrivener I used Word, but then I had whole files of stories, and it wasn’t as simple to go from one to the other. That’s especially useful when I feel like writing, but I don’t know what to work on. It also good when it comes to not having to come up with file names. I have whole folders of old work with file names like ‘Demon Black’, which means absolutely nothing to me now. Now, if I have no idea of a file name I can still put it into a folder that will give me some idea what I’m looking at, so I’ll know which collection it’s for at the very least.
With the most recent story I was working on I knew I wanted to visit the deserts of Oracle. That was all I knew. I had no idea who it was going to be, why they were going to be there, or what was going to happen. I simply started writing. It’s also the way I world build a lot of the time. I’ll just start writing a story and I’ll learn something new. Even though I call myself a control freak when it comes to writing anything the characters are in control. I’m much more of a character writer than I am a plot writer. At the same time I often have no idea what the character looks like. That’s when I’ll turn to Pinterest to find someone who makes me think of them. Once I have that image in my head it’s not going anywhere. I just need to find it.
I’m the same with settings. I often can’t see them in my head. If I find an image that makes me think of a place it helps. That’s why I often write my Earth based collections in places I know. It makes it easier to give it the realism I want them to have, even though I then add in vampires, and magic, and whatever else comes to mind. At the same time I also like to play around with history. I love the idea of time travel, but I do try to stick with times I know. That’s why I like to write about Tudor England. It’s been one of my favourite points in history for years, so if I’m going to change anything it will probably be something to do with that time. Fortunately for me it’s a time when a lot of things happened.
The end point of a story is often at a point of view change. Sometimes that makes the stories very short, and sometime it doesn’t. When I stop it’s always at a natural point, even though it might not seem that way, because I go by feel more than anything. It feels like the right point, and then I’ll find that one of the other characters has a story that fits it at that point. There are several stories posted at the moment that have stopping points where they do in order to add in something from the point of view of another character. With some of the longer stories I’ve split them, to add them it, as that’s the way it works best with the set up I have.
So, yeah, that’s how I write. If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.