It’s strange to me how ideas for writing come. One minute you have nothing, the next you are typing away like crazy.
Those instant bursts of inspiration are, mostly, how I get through posting a short story each week. I switch off my brain and let the auto-processes take to the field. They haven’t let me down so far. I have enough imagination for a dozen people.
Not all the stories here are are like that though. Two of them are different – in fact two of the worlds here are around a decade old. One of those two I never set a story in. Let me explain.
The first serial I ever wrote, a world where more than one story takes place in it, was The Hotel Regency. That was a long time ago, back in 1998-ish. That world was inspired by two things coming together, the front cover of a Cerebus the Aardvark comic and me reading a Groucho Marx biography. I wrote two stories set in this world, and planned out a third. Then writers block hit and I never finished the third story.
I wrote part of the fourth story set in the Hotel Regency world a few weeks back. I’ll get to finishing that story in the next month or so. It’s going to be a few parts. One day I’ll see if I can find the missing third story, dust off what I have and attempt to rewrite it. Attempt because digging back into the old world I created is hard! You have to be consistant, not just invent on the fly. I found the choice to tackle my Hotel Regency world again to be a difficult one to make. When I did it though I was happy with the start I made. It inspired me to take on my other world.
Coleopteran, the basis for last weeks story, is that world. It is a super complex world slung around a city of the same name. It’s way deeper and has far more layers, characters and minute world details than I can shake a stick at. Some of which are written out out, some still buried in my head.
I invented Coleopteran during my writers block phase. I had this incredible world, with some great characters, planned out back in 2003-ish. I wrote a plan out for the novel, although I only got part way through that as something was missing. I since found that missing piece but that’s a story for another day. I’ve had the world in my head for over 8 years. I know it quite well and yet I’ve never tried to set a story in that world.
Should I start with one of the main characters from the novel? Set the story within the city, or in the surrounding wilds? If it’s in the city, which district do I pick? Or even, which of its denizens? The humans, beetles, spiders, shadow spiders or the underground? And if humans, which section or class of society? Arg!
Even though I’ve broken my writers block I was still tied up and unable to tackle Coleopteran. So Birth was the first time writing in that world. I had no idea where the tale would go, or what would happen. I just had to try and write something in that world. I started with a total blank slate and just wrote.
When I finished last weeks story – it took me a long time to write with many breaks in between sentences – I was exhausted. Also elated and confused. Why was it so hard? I had to think about that, and I realised it was hard because of how long I’d carried that world in my head. I didn’t want to disappoint myself, or not be true to the vision I have for the world. The sheer weight of both expectation and the depth of the world was so much it had stopped me from acting. It’s still hard to do, I’m writing Birth part two and still struggling.
So Birth was appropriate, both in terms of the story and in me finally giving birth, in writing, to a world I’ve carried in my head for eight years. I’m going to write up some of the history and background to Coleopteran and post it. I hope you find it as fascinating as I have.