Well Destiny, the conclusion on my The Elemental trilogy, was released last week. Now it is time to start working on a whole new novel. Since I have been working on the trilogy for the past few years, it seems like forever since I had to start a novel from scratch.
Since I write fantasy, starting a new novel is harder than just deciding the plot line and building characters, I have a whole world to create. Now while that is fun and exciting, it is a lot of work to make sure you develop a believable setting for the story.
But before I can even think of building the world or developing the characters, I need to work on the plot. I need a compelling story with a well-defined conflict. I have to know where the story is going in general so I can then create the characters through which the story will be told.
I do not outline my novels before I begin writing them. (See plotter vs pantser post) I merely have an overview of what the story is about. And luckily for me, I have a story in mind. Now I just need to flush out some issues and make sure it is a compelling story.
Once that is done, it will be time to develop the characters. This can be fun. You get to explore their backgrounds and discover their flaws as well as their strengths. Over the next few days (or perhaps weeks since holiday obligations are going to slow me down) I will need to develop histories, descriptions, and motivations for all my characters. It is a chance to get to know them which will result in making them more vivid when I begin writing.
After that – though this step is usually already started by working on the plot and characters – it will be time for one of my favorite things – creating a whole new world. You get to design kingdoms and political systems as well as define how magic will be used and what limits there are to it. And yes, you do need to add limits or consequences to your use of magic so that it is believable and can add to the conflict of the story rather than be the supreme answer to all problems.
As part of my world building, I will also create a map of my world so that I can refer to it as I am writing. This step is quite useful in knowing where your characters are, and how long it will take them to get to other locations. Readers might catch that it took two weeks to reach the seaside village but only two days to return home. Knowing where your characters are and what type of environment they are in will help create that believable world.
So this week I began working on my next novel (tentatively called Alexandria). It will be filled with fairies and dragons and magic. So while you are waiting for my next book, take time to enjoy The Elemental trilogy. Because if you love magic and dragons (and possibly telepathic cats), then I am sure you will love this series.