As I mentioned in last week’s post (Before I Start Writing | #AmWriting), the most work I need to do at this point is world-building. I know that most people have no problem doing this and, in fact, find this the most exciting part of pre-writing. I personally struggle a bit with this, I think because as I imagine stories I do so within a blend of worlds that I’ve experienced in other people’s works. Does anyone else do this?
As I really want for the world to be able to inform the writing as I work on my first draft, I’m prioritizing world-building at the moment. The first thing I did was open a new Scrivener project so that everything could be in one place, so I’ll start there.
At the very top of the binder is my Seven-Point Plot Structure summary that kicked off this new writing project. Right below that is a page with my Series Trajectory. I really want Hollow Combs to be the first in a six-book series, so I have a general idea of what will happen to my protagonist in subsequent books. I find it handy because it reminds me of the direction I ultimately want for certain characters’ futures as I’m writing so I remember what can and can’t (or shouldn’t) happen.
Then I have my Manuscript which is divided into three folders for the three acts of my story (which I’m using as a loose framework right now). My aim is that I’ll be able to plot the story a bit more than I have already before I finally start writing, so I’ll have nine chapters within each folder and 27 total. I think in the final draft I’ll actually have more than that though.
The thing I most needed to work on was the magic system for my story. I knew I wanted magic to be commonplace and to have a growing societal tension around its use, but I didn’t know much more than that. I don’t really want to go into all the details of it, but I will say that there are differing school of thought on magical practice within the world. And anyone can do magic, but some are better predisposed to become great at it. But I don’t see this magical necessarily existing within people, but being more science-like.
My protagonist is special in that her relationship with magic is different. She is not exactly more powerful than others, but she can do things that others can’t because of a secret that will be discovered possibly later in the series. The antogonist becomes who she is because she abuses and corrupts the natural order of magic.
For next time, I’m hoping to get more into the finer details of how magic training works and how my protagonist will learn it in this book. Then I think more about who my side characters will be in this story because my protagonist will need to interact with others and make allies. I also want to think about how I can responsibly depict diversity in this novel. It’s been a big topic of discussion on social media recently and I want to do my part, even if my story is in a more traditional fantasy vein.
Even though I’m 100% hispanic, I think I’ve always pictured all my characters as white. I don’t know what to think about it. Maybe it’s because of the white-washed culture and history I’ve grown up and feel most comfortable within as I’m fairly light-skinned. So I want to see if there’s anything I can do that promotes a different cultural influence in the landscape, and perhaps in the magic as well, without it feeling like tokenism or appropriation.