The bottom line, hard truth to writing is that there is no one way to write. Let me repeat that; there is no one way to write. I know quite a few writers, both published traditionally and self pubbed and everything in between and not a single one does things exactly the same as any other. There are similarities, those who pre-plan, those who pantz it, and those folks who hover in between that like myself.
There are various methods involving pre-planning, worldbuilding, ways of organizing and scene order and every one of them is right. The only method that is wrong is the one that says it is the ONLY way to write.
A couple of days ago I had a twitter conversation with a writer I highly respect, Jill Myles whose livejournal I have followed for years, and we were discussing the issue of women in high fantasy always seeming to get handed a bow as if they couldn’t handle any other kind of weapon. Which led to the fact that many high fantasy books simply don’t feature females. There’s a token woman with a bow (or staff) but not the lead.
Somehow I found myself challenging myself to take a year and write a high Epic Fantasy about a group of women. One of which, I assured her, would be wielding an axe. To which she replied “Do it.”
But that got my head going, and I could ‘see’ a woman carefully wiping down the blade part of a double headed axe. In this still frame in my head I can see three of her companions and a possible love interest in the background and behind it all a crown made up of bones with the center piece being a skull missing its lower jaw.
There are things I know about this story that have started to fall into place. I know who the villain is, I know who the love interest is, I know that things are going to get very very bad for the fmc. I know that there is going to be double crossing, and I know that when it all boils down they are going to have a bittersweet end.
I haven’t decided if there will be a redshirt among the companions. I know that there is not going to be a huge chance for an HEA (I really don’t see how it would be possible considering the situation). I sat down and drew a map using Holly Lisle’s methods. I wrote up a bit of a scene which might be a prologue later on (I need to finish the last half of that scene, I don’t like how I ended it) and I outlined 5 scenes.
No more than 5 for now because I just don’t see where it will go immediately after the 5th scene. When I hit that 5th scene I will probably have more unfolding in my head and will have to sit down and scribble out the next few scenes.
I’ve gotten a general idea about the three main religions of their world. And I am still trying to decide if there are going to be any non-human creatures (think Elf, dwarf, goblins & so on) right now I don’t see them being a necessity for the world but that may change as I write.
All because I challenged myself to write an Epic fantasy featuring a woman with an axe.
The pieces were there, floating around in my head, it just took one little trigger to bring it together.
That is how I work. There are those out there that would have to figure out the history of all nations involved, figure out the distance of the world from the sun and its moon/moons, figure out exactly how many ticks are in a tock and what ethnic groups populate the little islands on the other side of the world that never make it onscreen…
Then there are those who would simply start writing whatever scenes come to mind to organize it all later. (Yes wen, I am looking at you!)
And a thousand different variations to those.
In the end, if you have a book that does what you intend it to do (Chicks with axes FTW!) does it really matter HOW you got there? The point is you got there.
I leave you all with a link to a great post at The Writing Bomb, about what it takes to make a real writer over here.
Have a great week folks. 🙂
P.S. ohohoh I almost forgot there is a tumblr over here that features Women Fighters in Reasonable armor. Awesome site with great pictures.