Jul 16 2011

Where do I start?

Posted by Mathias in The Writing Process

Well, I am sitting here today wondering where to start. I thought I would just sit here at the keyboard and brainstorm a little bit letting my thoughts come out and see if they lead me to a conclusion.

I have a bunch of half completed novels from years past. But that just not seem like a good starting point to me as an unestablished author in the fantasy/sci-fi field. Finishing up an existing transcript and sending it out without any credentials in the fantasy and science fiction genre would probably be a fool’s errand.

I think my best bet would be to try and get a short story or two or three or four published in a reputable publication. I have a lot of short stories that I have written in years past. But reading them over, and knowing what I know now, they need a lot of work. The basic stories are good, but they could use some tweaking, but some of the prose is not its best.

I am thinking about starting with a blank slate though. What that blank slate should be I don’t know for sure. For me it has always been easiest to write high fantasy, being an experience D&D Dungeon Master and all who had to constantly come up with adventures for others. I have always had a particular affinity for this sort of genre. I loved playing the original Everquest MMORPG years ago and wrote back stories for all my characters. I also thoroughly enjoyed novels like The Lord of the Rings and Dragonlance.

Ok, I think that is a good place to start. High fantasy seems to be the way to go. It is what I am most comfortable with. That basic kind of swords and sorcery stuff might be overdone but I like it. But the trick is going to be to come up with something that is not just a rip off of another story. Not that I would do this on purpose. But anyone who has written knows that if you also read in the field you write in over the years it can sometimes become hard to tell what is something that you read somewhere else and what is your own idea.

Hmm. So if I do high fantasy that means I will have to create a world. That is a lot of work preliminarily of course. Especially for a short story. I know some writers in this genre do not go through the sort of rigorous preparation of a world that I am pondering but I find it easier just to make sure I know where my boundaries are so that I do not stray.

My experience in creating such world types is you do not have to put down the basis for everything but you need an outline. Will there be magic? If so, what kind. And how powerful will it be? Magic can get out of hand if you let it and do not design the world to properly contain that fantastic element of high fantasy story telling.

What will the level of technological advancement be? Should it be iron age? Should there be advanced technology?

And what about the people that inhabit the world? Humanoid? Humans? Elves? Others?

Then of course there is the concept of whether or not there is some sort of Deity pantheon to deal with. Gods, their numbers and how they may or may not interact with the inhabitants of a world are very important parts to any sort of fantasy story.

Of course the size of the world too is something to consider. Especially if there is no advanced tech. You don’t want characters spending months getting from point A to point B if the story requires travel. For a short story the characters may not have time to move to far off but that does not mean that far off places don’t play a role in the story.

All this needs to be flushed out.

So as I am sitting here thinking about I have some general ideas.

My initial thoughts are a standard high fantasy world of swords and sorcery with Iron Age style tech only. I am talking swords, armor, catapults etc. No flying machines, guns, tanks or that sort of stuff. I am thinking two races (Humans and elves) and a limited pantheon of gods. There will probably be a standard good, Godlike god and an evil, Satan like antagonist deity. Neither may play a role in the story proper but their influence will shape events.

Magic will be limited. How so I have not thought out fully yet of course but I hate the all powerful sorcerer idea. Honestly I am not that big on sorcerers at all. But there has to be a conveyance for the magic to be used in the world if it exists. There are other options. Natural magic imbued in certain types of objects like stones for example which the characters could access and manipulate.

Ok, now I need to sit back and get all this thought out and work on a basic plot. I’ll post again when I have made some progress on that end.

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