In January, I released my latest fantasy novel, The Heir to Alexandria. The months of February through April were packed with some non-writing projects so it is only now in May that I am finding time to work on my next new novel.
Sigh. It isn’t that I don’t want to start a new novel, but starting a fantasy novel is a lot of work. It goes beyond just deciding on a plot and building characters. I have a whole world to create. And that takes time.
And while I do enjoy developing a believable setting for my story, sometimes I would love to be able to skip the planning part and just begin writing. But I know that without some planning that I would be doing a lot of rewriting.
So first comes plot…I need a compelling story with a well-defined conflict before I can even worry about the world building. And I think I have the compelling story, but I still need to fine tune the exact nature of the conflict.
Once that is done, it will be time to develop the characters (and at least one from this new book will be a dragon). This can be fun. You get to explore their backgrounds and discover their flaws as well as their strengths. Over the next few weeks, I will develop histories, descriptions, and motivations for all my characters. Knowing these details makes the characters more vivid and real.
But because once again I have been busy with travel and doctor’s appointments (see Monday’s post for details regarding the medical issue), I haven’t had as much time to anything. But with character building in mind, I have used my spare time to collect a list of names for some minor characters.
And there is still a lot of world building to do. I need to decide on the political and religious beliefs 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 also usually 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 here I am again…starting over. So much planning to do before I even begin writing. It sometimes feels overwhelming, but I know it is will be worth it.