G R Matthews
Planning a new book
So Corin Hayes #2 (Nothing Is Ever Simple) is done, out for editing and proof-reading, and I am at a loss. Well, not really, I could write another Corin book. I like Corin, he gets to say things we’d all like to say and probably think. But he does tend to get beaten up a lot. A lesson for us all there; keeping your gob shut can often be a good idea – I think my Dad gave me that advice when I was young.
Anyway, there is a short story I’ve got to write. I mean, I don’t have to, but I started it and I like it. Gang and Liu, from The Forbidden List series, are the stars of that one. I liked their relationship in the books, and the way it developed, so returning to them, even in prequel form, seemed like a good idea. I’ll get it finished soon.
Also, there’s this short-story I wrote for an Anthology submission. And I like that too. It is not set in Corin’s world nor that of The Stone Road, it is something new. That’s exciting. I get to play in a new world, new characters, and new magic. The only problem? Planning it all.
Now, I am not a great planner. I much prefer writing and seeing where the story takes me, however the one bit I really have to plan out is the world. That has to be consistent and real… it can change and be added to as the book evolves, but it needs that solid base. And, as folks seem to like (and get frustrated by) the pictures of my journal (even blurred out), here are some from the latest project; tentative title – “Security Breach” (that’ll probably change).
Creating a character
I like a good spider-diagram or mind-map. They let me scribble ideas down and see where it leads. Some of them end up a mess, but there is something about just writing it down that firms it up in my head. It also lets me see what connects to what, and to scrub bits out. If I want to.
Finding the character
And once I've got a general idea for the character there is a chance to place them in a situation, start to draft out a scene and see how they play it out. This won't be the finished character, but more scenes, more playing and his 'character' will start to shine through, I'll discover his voice (hopefully).
As it is likely to be an urban-fantasy story, I can use real world locations. Google maps (satellite view) is fantastic. I know the kind of location I want and need for the start of the book - and that is based on some of the spider-diagrams, so I can go searching. A hand-drawn map I can annotate is useful... and I am going to change the real world a little to suit my needs. It is fantasy after all!
All fantasy needs some form of magic, overt or not. So some more spider-diagrams to think about how it works, what it can do and what it cannot do. That's the joy and pain of magic systems (or non-systems). In urban fantasy, why not just use a mobile phone and a gun? With those, 4g of course, there is little that cannot be discovered or, with bullets in the gun, shot and killed.
And after all that (and there are more pages of notes and ideas in my journal) there is still the actual story to write, edit, redraft and edit some more. Nothing good comes quick... anyway, now I've procrastinated by writing this blog post, time to get on!