Usually, when I write I either start with a little piece of dialogue I’ve thought up, a character, or a scene and I go from there. I rarely ever plot or make notes for the story. Even rarer does the story come to me all at once.
I think I’ve grown tired of this writing style. I go to edit some of my earlier stuff and I see that even though the stories themselves aren’t entirely crap, there’s not a lot of intelligence behind them. I see crime stories featuring police detectives whose cases practically solve themselves (as they often do in the real world, but where’s the fun in that?). I see science fiction stories set in the future with technology we do not have yet but very few implications. They all feel like they are stories without souls.
My problem is is that while I do read, I’m not reading enough. When I do read, it’s usually science fiction or articles about writing. Nothing wrong with that, and I sure as hell am not going to stop, but I don’t think online articles and blog posts and today’s sci fi has enough of that special something that can help a stubborn, cold, technical person like me add that soul into my writing. I have to expand my horizons and be a little more intellectual.
I decided to begin the planning stages for a new story. Whether it ends up being a novel, novelette, novella, or short story remains to be seen. I have no characters figured out yet, no name for the story, no working title, or anything else except a setting. The only clue I’m going to give is that it is going to be a genre-mashup, including a genre I have never before worked in. To prepare, I’ve cracked open a book that’s been languishing on my shelf unread for almost a year now. I’m going to read and do the usual scholarly stuff of highlighting, marking pages, taking notes, and whatever else I feel the need to do to it.
This project will be the most ambitious thing I have ever attempted. I’m excited but I am nervous. I have decided that the only way I am actually going to become a true writer is to knock down my personal boundaries and go out of my way to write something challenging. Fewer hours playing Star Wars: The Old Republic and more time spent building up my personal library again.
Time to get started…