Piece o’ cake
Some stories are easier to write than others. I admit I was a little spoiled by the first two, which took years to write but were at least talking to me the whole time. My latest novel, St. Martin’s Moon, was not so forthcoming. The first bump in the road was that this was my first story that wasn’t a pretty straightforward fantasy novel. I’m always trying to stretch myself, do new things, and the inspiration for the book was another book that turned out to be a murder mystery set on a lunar colony. The werewolf was my idea.
The lunar colony I could do, with a few minutes of The Dreaded Research to back me up. A werewolf was a bit out of my scope, the sort of stretch I was looking for. The mystery was impossible. I’m a complete pantser. I discover the story as I go along. There was just no way I could plot it out, the way a mystery paradigm required.
The werewolf was much the same. Horror is a matter of setting and ambiance, also not strengths of mine. I prefer my descriptions to come from the perceptions of the characters, and werewolves are not characters, they’re monsters. The people who became the werewolves were another matter. The shift from horror to a paranormal was easy enough to make, in spite of the fact that I am not on board with the current trend in paranormals of turning classic monsters into leading men. The good thing about werewolves is that they are only part-time monsters. Poor old Larry Talbot and those like him spent most of their months looking forward to the last day. Unless…
And what about my werewolf hunter, last vestige of the mystery that wasn’t? He was the linchpin of the whole story, the catalyst of a reaction to which he (everyone, actually) was completely oblivious as he went about his ordinary duties. In chapter one I discovered that he had a whole lot of backstory as to why he didn’t want to go back to the Moon. What other secrets might he be hiding? As it turned out, it was a bit of a doozy. The ghost was not my idea. Or the romance.
Now if only I’d had a story.
My original idea was admittedly rather nebulous, but even so it was better than the nothing I had left after both genres up and walked out on me. As it was I wrote what was mostly a scifi story with the occasional elements of Dark Shadows mixed in. It was the characters’ fault really, I was just following them around. While they were all set off by the presence of my werewolf hunter on their lunar colony, each of them went and did their own thing. None were enough, but all were necessary. What had started out as a single linear story of uncertain genre broke up into five different plots, on two different planes of reality, which intersected in the person of my hero.
Nothing to it.
St. Martin’s Moon will be released on May 15th, 2011.
Like many writers, I started when a story came along and decided that I should write it. Don't ask me why. Others followed, until now I'm afraid to go out of the house with a recorder or notebook in my hand. But I show them, I refuse to write the same story twice!
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