Wednesday, April 23, 2003

I’m working on a story I came up with quite awhile ago, tentatively titled Seeing Things Invisible (I do seem to be attracted to long titles, don’t I?). It’s a fantasy, set in a Renaissance-level world where their equivalent of Alexander the Great has just conquered the known world, and is attempting to consolidate his empire. He knows that it won’t last past his death unless he takes very special measures to pull things together now.

So, he assembles a group of ambassadors who will do their best to forge ties of unity across the continent. It’s sort of like Babylon 5, except the ambassadors are more committed to the emperor’s goals than Londo or G’Kar. However, my characters are under more intense pressure by their respective countries to work in those countries’ best interests. It shifts the focus.

Right now, I’m just writing scenes, introducing the characters to each other and setting up relationships. I have no idea where this is going. I’m just writing to see what happens.

This is different from my usual method of writing, which is to come up with an idea of the entire story and then progressively flesh it out, making it longer and more detailed with each pass. That’s felt most comfortable to me, and previous attempts to forge ahead on a story with no idea where I was going petered out almost immediately.

I refuse to speculate on whether this is the best way for me to write. This is an experiment. The next thing I write will be written in whatever form that seems most appropriate at the time that I’m writing it. For now, this is what I’m doing.

One of the drawbacks of this “shooting in the dark” style is that I have difficulty motivating myself. I don’t know whether this will end up being a novel, or a webdrama, or a novella, or a series of short stories, or something else I haven’t thought of yet. When I know I’m writing a novel, for example, I can look forward to having a finished novel in my hands if I finish. If a short story, I can look forward to seeing the story in print in a magazine. With this…I’m just writing.

On the other hand, maybe that’s the best thing. Maybe it’s best that I get used to writing just for the sake of writing.

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