I had this idea for a novel once. It was set underground, in a world where the only life giving light came from vast oceans of magma. The ceilings of these great caverns would be covered by inverted jungles, and an empire of orcs resided about the ocean’s shores, their homes quarried into the rock, their food derived by brave aeronaughts who hunted the inverted jungles above the magma. They were going to be divided into two societies, one an elevated, Heian Japanese style court, while the other was a sprawling rough and tumble world like that that choked Five Points NYC.
I had it all figured out. A hero, a plot, a story, a novel. But I couldn’t write it.
I don’t know why, exactly. I felt constricted by the weight of the vision. It felt like trying to put on a suit of armor–too heavy, too cumbersome, too rigid. There was no room to breath in there, I felt stifled from the sheer level of detail I had created, so I abandoned it after a week of research and wrote something else, eventually writing about orcs in my Blood From The Mountain novel.
Same thing is happening now with Samsara Bastard. I have a cosmology, a world, main characters, a plot. But I’ve put too much icing on the cake and now I can’t find the nougat. That and I think I’m tired of angels and demons–that’s what The Grind Show deals with, what I’m actively editing, so perhaps I need a break. It’s me, not you, I need a little time.
So what else can I write? I’ll shelve that idea and turn to something else. This feels like Speed Dating with novel ideas. Which is why, incidentally, all authors end up believing that it’s not the ideas that count, it’s the execution, the actual writing, your damn voice, your flair and style. Anybody can come up with a great idea. Almost nobody can then put it down in about 90,000 words.
SO. What next? What’s the score here? Another novel, quick! March, it is a-wasting, and my Word Deficit is racking up into fearsome numbers. Quick quick, another idea, go go go!
A unicorn that leads a revolution against gothic a space empire. The adventures of a groundhog that achieves sentience while running through an holographic maze. A scientist who realizes that the patterns that certain new palm trees that grow in Sumatra spell messages from outer space. A western where the cowboys ride velociraptors and pilgrims lead long lines of triceratops across the desert instead of caravans.
OK. What I want to write is… a murder mystery. A thriller. Something Clint Eastwood would direct, like Mystic River. Something based on Shakespearean family politics that is rife with tension. Where the murder isn’t even the focus, but rather how the people react to it.
Never written one of those before. How does one do it? Multiple points of view. A mystery. A cast of characters, a setting. Alright, going to get to brainstorming. Adieu!