So. I broke out my themes into elements, and when I started looking at the elements, I realized if I started playing them off against each other, I had this amazing list of conflicts. AMAZING.
If you list all the good points about something like immortality, and then you list all the bad points, and do the same for mortality, and then do the same for humanity as a whole, and then you start bouncing good against bad, and good (for immortals) versus good (for mortals), and so on, you realize that you have way, way more than a hundred scenes you could write, and every one of them has a taut, important conflict built into it.
So then you start picking and choosing conflicts, visualizing your characters, getting a feel for backstory, for who’s going to come down on the side of what.
It gets beautifully juicy fast.
(Better clarify—I don’t have all one hundred scenes yet. I do have 8100 potential conflicts from which to pick the best 100, and about 20 already picked.)
Got names today, too. My two leads have been nothing but Him and Her for ages… but now they have names. Probably the ones they’ll keep.
Her–Aleksa Kralj — ethnic Serbian, raised Orthodox Christian, from Kosovo. Adopted into an American family when her own was wiped out in a religious purge.
Him– “Ki” Kideronarasu Fox — Minoan. Or at this point, I guess, American with edges. He’s been around a good long while. I got the Minoan from the syllabylary for Linear A, and … ah … winged it. Ki is the nickname, Kideronarasu is his actual name, and if it’s something hideously profane in Minoan, nobody’s gonna know it but him, because we’ve lost Minoan as a language. Ah, elbow room. 😀 And Fox is the Anglicization of a last name that started out as a family crest and that he’s been dragging through place and time since around 2500 BC.
And on another note, I finally did a header for the website. And the blog. And the shop. And they all match. 😀
That is one of those ideas that you hit yourself on the head and say “why didn’t I think of that before!”….Like the V-* commercials.
I can use that, and the timing is just perfect!
Krista, I’m pretty picky about heritage/culture. People are part of their culture and subculture FAR more than they’re part of their race—and it’s one of the things you’re right to worry about screwing up. When I’m writing real-world, which this basically is, I dig up people from that culture who are willing to answer questions (one of the truly cool things about being a novelist is that just about everyone is willing to talk to you, and when they do, you get to thank them in the credits). And I read.
And, because it’s fiction and the needs of my story are my primary concern, I extrapolate, and do the best I can. Yes, I’ll get some things wrong. But I’m writing about an individual, not a collective, and individuals even within tight cultures are not perfect representatives of their cultures. There is no Average Human Being. It is within that truth that the grace of writing fiction lives.
Love the names you selected for the new characters. Here’s a quick question for you, though. When you’re building a character who “lives” in our world – even if it’s a fantastical version of our world – how concerned are you with getting their heritage/culture right? I ask because I always shy away from characters who I could easily misrepresent. I shy away from them even when they’re the ones in my head going “pick me, pick me!”.
It’s amazing how analytical your approach is, Holly. I can see where we crossover, but I am stunned at the concept of conflict outside of the story and picking and choosing :D. The more I see of how you do things, the more I realize just how organic I am. On the other hand, I’m a flexible organic. This technique? It would spawn four billion books for me. Maybe something to play with once I finish up Molly.
I’ve been following this, and…wow. This is so completely up my street (in terms of what I like to read). Since starting a fantasy novel that’s very definitely fantasy, I’ve had a constant craving for what I suppose I have to call ‘soft’ SF, for want of a better term.
It sounds like you’re having fun with your novel; the ‘oh my goodness this is so cool!’ stage of novel writing is my absolute favourite of the whole process, maybe even better than typing ‘The End’. Long may it continue!