There comes a point in writing where we feel that the story, the players and the universe that hold them have gained enough consistency to secure them in a tangible form. The ethereal cloud of infinite possibilities must now be condensed, into a brick (but not a too thick one!) Of course, there will always remain a small cloud of regret…
How to take this step without too much pain?
As I explained in another post, I do not have a rigid plan. I rather draw a grocery list. Here is one of the subplots in a novel work. (It does not give the big punches, and if you can’t read French, my secret is safe, bwa-haha!)
I draw clouds of relationships between characters, and do the research to comfortably establish my imaginary world.
An imaginary world well designed, whether in science fiction or in fantasy, do not only allows the author to return to it, but fans can also seize it (it happened with the universe Darkover by Marion Zimmer Bradley).
CAVEAT: Research is good, but … to some extent!
This is me writing a science fiction novel! Alas, too much “let’s google this, check up that” in the middle of writing the first draft of a manuscript will cut your swing, slow or even paralyze you. Oh, I wanted to read this post by Cory Doctorov sooner!
When you’ve worked and thought and lived with our stories behind the head, the characters grow and eventually become almost friends to the writer.
After the throes of planning is a very pleasant step in creating a novel. In my case, I enjoy doing lots of sketches that show a little life characters “outside” the scope of the novels. Here, I sketched a family scene from the world of Chaaas.
The downside is that it might push the story in all directions. And as it happens while I am writing, the manuscript gets longer! We must rein in those ideas, and jot down the wildest ones to recycle them for another story!
As the publishers have a specific format in mind for their books, there is usually a limit of pages to follow. We must strive to keep one or two main plot lines and give up many ideas and developments full of promises … with no guarantee that all the children of our imagination will emerge elsewhere!