“Where do you get ideas? I could never do that.”
I don’t believe it. I hear this frequently. Everybody has stories and dreams that could be stories. I think the big resistance people feel to writing their story is that they have an expectation that the first draft in their head isn’t like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. Therefore it can’t be any good.
Well, none of them are. I had a dream about the ending of my first book. I was interested. I thought it was cool and I spent time looking at it from different directions. Then I wrote it down. So there you go, that was it. Three thousand words out of a hundred thousand – started it all.
I had to develop characters, a world for them to live in, and most importantly – somehow get them to that ending.
AND the first draft was crap. Yes, I said it, my baby was crap. It read more like, wooden characters went here and then there and somehow they ended up at the end. Blah blah blah. Crap.
But… that’s when the magic happens. You have something written down and you can look at each part of it and mold it – shape it into something you like. You learn so many lessons in this phase of the project. First and foremost is: remove your ego. We’ll talk about that in a different post.
We are surrounded by stories and so many of them are the same. Fantasy is pretty formulaic. Tension arises, a group comes together, a journey happens (internally or physically), and then conflict followed by resolution. But you can change any of these things – it’s your story.
We most often see white men. Change that. What if a young black man ending up in a Camelot type environment. You would need some experience with an inner city culture, but it would be different, it would change everything about the story. It would be good.
Or, you could do a story from the animal’s perspective. Bill the pony (from Lord of the Rings) has a story to tell. How did he get from the gates of Moria back to safety. I actually need someone to tell Bill’s story.
Don’t dismiss your stories. Don’t dismiss your dream. Write them down. Mold and change them until you like them better. Learn about it, grow better, and rewrite them. Who cares if anyone ever reads it? This stage is about you.