All stories begin somewhere. Mine often start in my dreams. When I wake up after a dream that has story potential, I’ll spend a few minutes going over the details of the dream, making sure the memory is firmly planted in my mind. Some story ideas don’t come from a dream. It may be an idea I have from watching a TV show or a movie, or maybe an idea from one of my wife’s amazing art pieces.
Having a good idea for a story — or a scene, or a character — is barely the beginning of the process. After that, I can spend days or even weeks developing the idea. The development stage often involves writing out the initial scene from the dream or idea, followed by a dump of all sorts of ideas and thoughts about characters, motivations, history, and more.
The development and research phase alone can take weeks or even months of work, sometimes at the computer typing, sometimes somewhere else, letting the gears in my brain turn. By the end, I usually have a decent plot outline, a plan for where things will go, and an idea of who the main characters are and why they’re doing what they do.
Finally, I’m ready to really start writing. I’ll sit down at the computer and start typing furiously. Somewhere along the way, I’ll realize the story is going somewhere else than where I’d planned. A main character vanishes, replaced by a minor character who pushed their way in. A major plot line fizzles before it can start, and some other plot begins to develop.
For most writers, that’s not a problem. Nobody is going to read the story until it’s been finished, reviewed, re-written, edited, polished, and re-written again. That’s not the way this blog is going to work, though. What goes up here isn’t going to be finished, edited, and polished. It’s going to be the evolving story, with whatever detours, unexpected characters, and plot holes go with it. It’s going to be raw and unfinished.
I’ll be honest. I still haven’t decided which story is going to be the premier piece for this blog. I’ve got a dozen or more stories in various stages of development. I haven’t decided how much of the process I’m going to share. I haven’t decided to use one of my science fiction pieces, or a fantasy one. How deep into the writing process do I pull you in? How much do I open myself to you?