Do Bad Things To Those You Love

There are many reasons for writing a story. That thing that inspired you, the character(s) that would not shut up, that horrible tragedy you suffered, or a place you visited or book you read that required some sort of artistic response.

However you wound up here, you are beside me and all of the other fiction novelists wanting to bring your book to life.

When I first started writing, I discovered a few characters I really wanted to know. I wrote a draft of a book with them in it, and it was terrible. But, it was also a stepping stone up to a bigger world and some of the characters stayed with me. I want to write because of them and I want you to care about them.

The hard part about this is that I can’t just tell you about their day. I could describe their upbringing, dreams and nightmares, and where they live and the people they know in their world. But that would be stupid boring to you. They’ve lived in my head for a decade and I know them very well. If I mentioned them to you, you might be nice and say you care but you don’t. You don’t know them like I do and I get it.

This is going to hurt.

So, I have to do bad things to them. I have to put them in horrible situations and sometimes even kill some of them so you will care. I have to make you worry for their safety, wonder about the impact of a lie they told or a discovery that they have to hide from everyone or the world may end.

In the next book in my series I killed a character in the opening. The characters I created have already suffered enough in book one, but this one had to go. It just didn’t make sense for them to continue and they had to exist in the previous book. Now, they are gone. The hard part about this is that I loved them. I truly did. I had someone in my life just like them when I was fifteen.

Writing is fun. It’s a thrill to put together a story and even more so when people enjoy reading it. It is also hard because in the end, we may have to torture them.

How about you writer? Are you having a hard time hurting those imaginary people you love?



My Writing Process Blog Hop

Jeff Chapman, a friend and local writer asked me to participate in a blog hop discussing my writing process. Jeff writes speculative fiction that falls somewhere in the fairy tale, fantasy, and ghost story genres. You can read Jeff’s post here. Thanks for the invite Jeff!

What am I working on?

I’ve finished book one of my Seven Sages fantasy series and sent that off to an agent. She is reviewing it now. I have started the second one, and plan to finish that by the end of the summer. I also have a few short stories to submit but I generally write whatever I have a passion for at the time, but I don’t like leaving things unfinished so I don’t allow myself to get distracted from my main project too long. So to make a long story short, one book and a few short stories at the same time.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

A great question, Jeff! Whenever I hear the word fantasy, I cringe. I immediately think of a bare chested man hugging a snow leopard on the cover. But I write fantasy so yes, this is a paradox. My fantasy has more dialogue and mystery, than sword wielding and battle. Although, these are not missing from my work. I love the works of JRR Tolkien (what fantasy writer doesn’t!) but I also like a good mystery book as well and I’ve tried my best to blend mystery and YA, in a fantasy world.

Why do I write what I do?

From Sir John Mandeville’s Travels cir., 1410

Sometimes the story finds you. I really enjoy history, not just memorizing dates, but works like Fantasy Islands of the Atlantic –stories about Islands that appeared on maps for centuries that never existed. Or 1421 the year China discovered America, and listening to these arguments. I am reading the Travels and Sir John Mandeville, which is an account of a trip from England to Jerusalem all the way to the steps of Asia and the tent of the Great Khan. This account was a complete lie, with mystical beasts and extraordinary tales, but reigned as the authority on countries in the east for centuries. I stumbled across the idea of my book and my world while reading books like these about nine years ago. I’ve been writing short stories and books in this world ever since.

How does your writing process work?

I write whenever I have time. Sometimes that means I bring my laptop into bed and write late into the night. Other times it means I am up at quarter to six to get my words in. As I have three kids under five, anything can happen at any time, so I have to steal writing time to write when I can. My wife is always gracious and allows me to chase my passions. I could not do it without her.

In regards to what I do when I write, I always read the last two paragraphs I wrote before to get a feel for where I need to go. I usually stop writing at a point that is extremely interesting to me, so I have something exciting or interesting to write when I come to the page again. At times I am tired and spent. However , a book does not write itself, and writing is about coming to the page consistently whether you have the appetite or energy for it or not.

Thanks for the invite Jeff.

I’ve asked Josh Mosey to participate I (and a few others I’ll add later). He’s a blogger, flash fiction writer, part of the Weaklings, cofounder of the Jot Writers Conference, and a good friend. Check out his post next week, but check out his blog for now.