The Honeymoon Phase

I’ve finished the first two chapters of Wielder and I’m happy so far with how things are going. There’s a point early on, after the initial difficulty of getting started, where the story starts to take on a life of its own. This, as most writers will probably attest, is a great time in the developmental arc of a story. It’s the honeymoon phase where the writer is getting to know the characters and the setting, not just as thoughts floating around inside his head like a bingo ball, but as tangible eating-sleeping-breathing beings that, to some degree are taking on a life of their own.

That’s the real magic.

With this new novel, I’m learning about my main character, Fort, and what kind of person he is. Before I started on the novel, all I knew about him was where he fit into my story and, vaguely, what I wanted him to do. Now, I’m turning more of that control over to him and, so far, I’m pleased with the results. He’s not exactly who I thought he would be and is, instead, better in many ways. There is a certain depth that comes to characters writing this way, a depth I don’t think I could achieve by careful plotting and planning before the actual composition begins.

My female lead, a very mysterious figure here in the beginning, is also developing a distinct personality that becomes clearer with each new question I ask about her in the writing process. Right now, she does not even have a name thanks to a case of amnesia, but already her character is coming out and working on its own, like an old-fashioned top after the string has been yanked away. If I can keep her spinning through the entire coarse of the novel, she should be great fun.

I’ve also thrown in appearances by a few supporting characters. Lionel, an angel, looks like he will be my comic relief throughout what will otherwise be a pretty dark tale. Also, Father Luther Ross, who popped out of my head just last night, has already started on his own unique path–as only a 7’4″ priest could do.

At this stage, I’m even enjoying the villains. Actually, I’m especially enjoying the villains. I haven’t brought the main bad guy on stage yet, but he’s there, sitting in his little tower, waiting for his queue to come out and wreak havoc. He has sent an emissary though and the result was an interesting scene in a Nashville McDonald’s. Again, nothing I had planned ahead of time. I just let the story go where it wanted to go.

So, the honeymoon continues. Hopefully, it will last about as long as it takes me to finish the book. As long as I stay interested in the characters–and they seem pretty cool so far–that should take care of itself.

So, here’s the progress on my Nashville-based contemporary fantasy, including a soul-wielding Knight, his rather incompetent guardian angel, an amnesiac love interest, a giant Catholic priest, and loads and loads of creatures from Hell:

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About Lee Smiley

I write things. Maybe you'll read them.
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