Well, November is almost upon us, and that means it's time for me to get off my butt and knock out a draft of another novel. As most of my regular readers know, I'm a big fan of National Novel Writing Month, an online challenge to writers to write a full novel length work in 30 days. I owe them big time, as without the challenge, it's doubtful that "Dimensional Games" would have ever been written. I used the challenge to break the mold of the "one day" novelist that so many writers find themselves in, and am better for having done it. I now use the challenge as my "No excuses, time to grind out another book" point of the year, where I give myself entirely to the words, and allow myself to go whooping through the fields of my imagination for your entertainment.
Note to self... write book about me running whooping through a field for 200 pages.
Gearing up to write a novel was the default state of my writing career for decades. I have since learned that writing a 300 page bible for a 200 page book is a waste of my effort. There are writers that this works well for, some of whom are quite famous, (Tolkien is said to have had generated volumes of reference material for the Lord of the Rings books) it's just that I'm not one of them.
My gearing up for a new Novel consists of me writing down clever ideas and concepts for a few weeks as they come to me (usually in the morning) with no clear plan about how they're going to come together. Dimensional Games is a really great example of this. My prep work for DG was as a page of hastily scrawled notes, which read as follows:
Idea- other dimensions used for larping!
Character- Cyborg designed primarily for recording historical events.
Idea- Time traveller pissed because he cant change history
ZOMBIES AT THE ALAMO!!!!
Character- inter dimensional troubleshooter that is woefully unprepared for the task.
Opening scene- troubleshooter stops errant larper from getting some booty
Idea- Troubleshooter should come off like an old west gunfighter.
And that was about it. Almost everything else that went into DG was invented on the fly as I wrote it. I've gotten much better about it since, going as far as to come up with an outline consisting primarily of chapter titles for last years writing project, but I try to let my imagination do most of the work as I write. I surprise myself all the time that way, and it gives me a great amount of pleasure to experience the story that way.
Then again, maybe I'm just plum crazy.