Holy MOLY this new project is making me so SO hyper. I’ve got research books out of the library on every horizontal surface, loading my ereader, and I swear, it’s like being a kid in a candy store, dipping my hand into one jar after another, tasting a little bit of everything.
See, this new project makes use of an alternative history. Which means I have to go research the ACTUAL history that I’m messing with to know what I’m messing with. So I’m picking and choosing what looks interesting or relevant, deciding what will stay the same, what will change, what I need to do deeper research on. And my brain, it is ESPLODING with ideas. I keep bulleting off emails to Susan and Claire “and then I’m gonna do THIS!” and getting back grins and “hee!”s and “THIS SOUNDS LIKE FUN” because, yo, it really really is.
Susan made the observation this morning that I seem to be a lot more comfortable (and having more fun) with taking this stuff and manipulating it to my purposes than I was with DOTH. And she’s right. I’m kind of mulling over why that might be.
I often have something “real” or that comes from existing lore that inspires what I write. It’s the sexy lure of that “What if…?” that fuels a great deal of my inspiration. And it’s part of why I stopped trying to write classic romantic suspense, because with the truly “real”, I worry about “getting it right”. There’s more freedom in the paranormal and fantasy realms.
And for some reason, with DOTH, I felt much more…bound by the existing lore. Which is nuts, considering that the lore is inconsistent and sketchy in a lot of ways. And maybe it’s that I tried to research as I went, doing the worldbuilding around the story rather than building the story around the world. I felt a really strong urge to just DIVE RIGHT IN, and I did. To the detriment of the final product.
The toolkit is intended to help with that. To show me the pieces I generally need. Which I can usually work on some while writing other projects, but also something that gives me a very visible and measurable achievement of OH I DID STUFF in a way that prior versions of plotting didn’t (which is why I sometimes dove in without sufficient planning–because not writing felt like not getting anything accomplished). But this really isn’t meant to be a post about plotting.
I guess I’m wondering this morning, how we make that call of “I want to take this thing here, and put my personal spin on it.” Why are some things easier to MAKE that choice for than others? Is it a personal thing? A genre expectations thing? An “I’m going to do something DIFFERENT, damn it” thing? Inquiring minds want to know.
The beautiful thing about being a writer is that the possibilities are limitless. You can take real things and put your own spin to them. You just have to be careful that you make it clear you ARE putting your own spin on things rather than just not knowing the real history. Some readers are ruthless in slamming people who “get things wrong”. That’s why I won’t write a historical romance. But when it’s clear that you are changing things around ON PURPOSE, there are so many things you can do to put your own twist on things. And it’s fun. I like how excited you are sounding.
Glad you’re having fun with it. That’s as it should be.