Wednesday, 23 April 2014
So after my last blog post about the novel I planned to work on after finishing Broken Moon I've since reconsidered my stance on that particular project. It's not scrapped, but it's on the shelf.
Why, you ask?
Because I realised it was just a collection of ideas that sounded neat. There was no emotional drive behind the project. I had perhaps one or two scenes in mind that I figured might be fun to write, but beyond that it was a vague mess of "maybe I could do that" and "wouldn't this be neat".
The kicker was that none of my enthusiasm came from the characters I was writing about. It's storytelling 101, and I feel like a dumby for not recognising it sooner, but if I didn't really care about the characters in the novel, how the heck was I going to enjoy writing it, much less make it enjoyable for others to read?
This realisation hit me as I was away visiting relatives over Easter (and getting some much-needed thinking space!), when an idea sprung into my head for a story that just kept getting more and more exciting until I ended up writing down several emails worth of notes to myself. This was a story that I was seriously passionate about, with characters who sprung into my head right off the bat, conflicts and plot lines that practically wrote themselves, and a tone and setting that's very close to my heart in literature.
Not to mention, it was something far closer to my current work than the project I had in mind before. There is a very specific kind of setting that I absolutely adore in fiction, and a kind of story that I've been longing to write for years, and I think I've finally gotten an idea that can work with it (without diverging too far from my current stuff).
I've blogged in the past about my favourite novels Maia and The Clan of the Cave Bear, and for as long as I can remember since reading those books I've wanted to write something with a comparable setting/tone for myself. My love of developing societies, tribal cultures, and archaic social structures in fiction is something I've tried to work into my werewolf serials to a degree, but it's always been difficult given that they are, ultimately, contemporary stories featuring characters who have a pretty modern understanding of the world.
What I want to do in this new novel is get rid of that modern element entirely and, sticking with the theme of paranormal shapeshifters, go way way back into the distant past, to a world where the tribal culture of werewolves isn't so different to the burgeoning human societies springing up around them.
My current plan is to tell a story primarily from the perspective of a human girl this time, one who becomes entangled with the werewolf pack threatening her village, and has her eyes opened to the way her people's enemies live their lives. Unsurprisingly, her love interest will be the alpha of the werewolf pack, and the heroine will have to deal with the animosity of both her own people and the werewolves as she begins to live a life caught between two worlds.
I have a whole bunch of details figured out so far, but they're not quite tidy enough to explain in detail just yet. I have several characters outlined, pretty much the whole first chapter loosely planned out, and lots of juicy conflicts ready to unfold as the story progresses.
I'm really excited about this one, and it's been a great little learning step for me as an author to realise what the big difference is between a project like this, and the one I had planned out beforehand. It's pretty much as mind-bogglingly simple as write about what you want to write about.
I'll be sharing more details as time goes on, and finishing up Broken Moon in the meantime!
The Wild Instincts box set is still coming along (urgh, it's taken a gross amount of time, and for that I'm super sorry!), and I've gotten back to doing re-edits on that whole serial when I have the time to. Chapters 1-3 should be available in their slightly more polished form on most retailers by now, and hopefully I can get the rest done before too many months slip away from me again!
Also, a long-overdue mailing list is in the works!