I only remember snapshots of those months. That is normal. Most of the time while writing a story, time just passes me by until there’s a click of realization. The clicks I remember clearly, because it’s like I realize two pieces of a puzzle that don’t appear remotely similar can be linked with just one little piece. Those are the moments that make writing exciting. However, the everyday moments of putting words on paper–words that are sometimes cut out completely later on–isn’t usually remembered.–(From Flashes of Imagination)
I commonly see this question answered by authors on their websites. In many ways, it is a very good question. Where do the plots come from?
In some ways, they seem to pop out of thin air. I tell my mom it’s like a bouncy ball is in my head and it is always bouncing around. Sometimes it’s like this ball hits the right spot and–boom!–I have a plot. Or at least, the beginning of a plot.
Because unlike what I would like to happen, a plot isn’t something that just appears out of thin air. It takes time to develop.
Let’s take Shad for example, which I know that no one has read but I know how it developed more. When I first thought about the plot, I had a piece of wood with a string on it that I was playing around with. I twisted the string around the nails and made a ship. Then, I started thinking about this person, who worked on a place like in Titan AE, so it’s like a recycling plant, who wants to be a mail runner and how he becomes it. Since that didn’t really interest me, the concept did more, I wrote it in my notebook and stowed it away.
Fast forward quite some time and I’m sweeping the dining room floor. I start having a conversation between the characters in my head. Out of that conversation comes the concept of Shad thinking himself as the best pilot and also the concept of sweeper ships.
Fast forward again a few more months and I decide it’s time to pull out my notebook and start writing down details of the story. I write down how they get food, how they get supplies. What they wear. How they act. Everything. I create for myself a society. I also get excited and write a few scenes.
However, I didn’t actually write anything for Shad until a year later, Maybe that is why it came out so well. During this time I was editing another story (Hope) which I wanted to finish before I started a new one. Two weeks before I started at a tech school, I told my mom that I really want to write this and I think I should, because otherwise it might just disappear. She said why not? I ended up writing Shad within three months, from August to Thanksgiving.
Now, between that time obviously I had to figure out things like who Shad’s parents were and where he came from and things like that. I don’t remember how I figured out the ending. I don’t remember how I realized the captain’s background (a rather nice little piece.) I don’t even remember why I decided that Shad needed a pet, except that I wanted a way to show that he wasn’t just some random tough guy.
Ironically, I usually can’t tell you want my plot is until I finish a story. For Shad, I thought it was his race. When I finished though I realized what it really was: Shad finding his place in the civilized galaxy.
The bottom line is that plots take time to develop. Plots usually have more than one issue involved in them. It’s almost like an onion, with the many layers that all comes down to it. But where do they come from? Thin air I think. Random ideas and thoughts connected in such a way that most people can’t even see them. They just pop in and then I knew how to exactly write something interesting.
So, does anyone else know?
It’s official. I am entered into the writing contest at my school. I actually entered in two stories, but in two different categories. I entered in one of them because my English teacher from last semester told me to enter it in essay and then I entered my story for the fiction section.
As it turned out, I was spelling the writing contest all wrong. It’s actually spelled Agnes Hyde. I will fix that soon.
Of course, things couldn’t go completely right for me. I was trying to print it last night and my printer was giving me a little gray line down the side of it. I’m not sure why. My dad, the ex-computer tech repair person doesn’t know why. He told me to shake the cartridge and so I did but that didn’t help, so I had to print it at school. Luckily, that was no big deal. (I also mailed a copy of my story to my grandma, because I figured she’d like it to get a nice big package from us.)
Problem now is, I don’t know when it’ll be over. I honestly don’t. They didn’t us a good idea. But maybe it won’t be too far down the road.
At least now I done with When Darkness Swallows and I can devote myself more to Dragon Slayers (which is probably going to be named Time of the Dragon Slayers but I’m too lazy to write that all out.) and hopefully tomorrow night after shabbat I’ll be able to edit another story called Samuel Brakborn and post it here too. I already did the paper edit.
Anyway, until tomorrow or Sunday. Enjoy your weekend.
I recently updated a bunch of pages on the side bar to your right, but never mentioned anything about them. Giant’s Wife is all stored there, along with many of my other more recent short stories. I suppose most of this will just be a directory but it’ll also have summaries of the stories if you would care to read them.
We’ll start with the top. Obviously, about the writer is a little bit of background information about me, Abigail. Has a picture too if you’re curious. :)
Darkness Swallows was originally called Kontyo for those who have read back entries. As the eldest son of the minister of interplanetary affairs, Kontyo never saw much of a need to behave. He knew that he would inherit his father’s title and continue living in luxury all of his life. That changes when an accident happens and he decides to leave for the sweeper ships instead of facing at least a year in prison, only to discover that some mistakes can’t just be undone.
Flashes of Imagination: At fourteen years old, with only writing for six months, my brother brings me a poster for a writing contest at the library. Everyone urges me to enter, only, why would I want to show the part of myself to someone? This is a true story based off of, obviously, the first time I entered a writing contest in 2003 or so.
The Giant’s Wife: I will just refer you to the front page. I have the summery posted there. That story is significantly longer than many of the other ones, which is why there is five parts to it. I’ve been posting one a day since December 17th and I’ll be done by Sunday I think. After that, I’ll be adding the index differently so the story will collapse.
Turning Crow Calls into Beauty: Lowri hates being the daughter of a rich merchant, she hates growing up and she hates having to learn to be a lady. But more than anything, she hates that stupid, ugly harp that her mother is convinced she can play and would rather do anything except practice.
What to Write: How does one find that magical inspiration that makes someone want to write? Who knows. Sometimes, it just happens.
That’s everything for now. Make sure you look in the side bar ever so often for more stories, because I will be adding them. I don’t think I’ll be adding Shad right now, if at all, although I like it a lot. (It’s also 85,000 words.)