Sunday, March 6, 2016

How I found THE novel

Tonight as I finished edits I had a moment of realization. This realization wasn't anything new exactly, but it's been a feeling of relief I've been having for months now. When I finished Bloodline Inheritance I was afraid to jump into something entirely new. Even as I started writing (and then rewriting) the first chapter of Clara and Claire I had my doubts. So what changed? It's a weird thing to explain, especially to people who aren't writers, just how I ended up writing this story. But Clara's story was in my head for so long while I finished Bloodline Inheritance that I couldn't just give up on it when the going got tough.

There are so many potential ideas that never make it to the novel stage. For one reason or another the author decides the story just isn't strong enough, and it gets shelved. Years ago when Inkpop still existed I had endless amounts of novels that were never finished. Any idea I had I would just run with it until it died. Turns out that isn't such a great strategy. People will tell you a variety of ways you can find the next novel that you want to write. I remember doing those Google searches myself when I started out with Clara and Claire and had my doubts. But it turns out no one can really give you the answer you want. No one can tell you what the next book you should write is going to be because they don't know the ideas that have been flooding your head. They don't know what kind of creativity you're working with. They don't know you or your novels.
The novel you've been wanting to write is inside of you like a locked away memory. And the most truthful advice I could give you about finding it is to really look further into who you are as a writer and a person. Decide what kind of stories you want to tell, and you'll realize the novel you've been waiting for was locked inside your head all along. Sounds easy, doesn't it? (If only that were the case...)

From my own personal experience, I can say I've known for months now that Clara and Claire is the correct novel for me. And this editing process only strengthens that confidence. I always worried that nothing would be as close to my heart as the Magicians series --I mean those are the novels that started my career as an author. At the same time, though, Clara and Claire has its own special place in my heart. I find myself thinking about it at all hours of the day and night. When I'm not working on the book it haunts me to think I'm wasting precious time (even though I know I still have to manage with my daily lifestyle outside of writing).
If there's anything I wish I had done more with Cursed With Power, it's that I wish I had shared more of the journey to publication. I talked a lot about it, but I never really documented in the way that I am trying to do with my newest novel. This book I want to try to show every aspect of the process, so at the end of it everyone from my friends and family to readers to complete strangers can gain more insight into what I do. Sometimes it's hard to explain what we do as writers, but I'm hoping that by sharing pictures as I go through the motions it can shed more light into the work that we do. And even if it doesn't for everyone, I know it will have a huge significance for me to look back on once the book is published and be able to say "this is where I started, and this is where it is today."
My novel didn't come to me in a dream or through a writing prompt. I found my novel because I knew it would challenge me to step outside of my comfort zone. To get scared sometimes, to be uncertain, but most of all to have fun with something entirely new.
Lindsey Richardson

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Writing a Fictional World

I've always wanted to write a novel with a fictional world. So many authors do it nowadays, and it gives you so much more room for creativity. There were fictional parts of worlds inside of the Magicians series, but when in came to Transylvania I tried to stick to realistic and accurate to history. When it came to Belsgar the magicians weren't there constantly, so we never really knew what it would have been like to live there.
Now with Clara and Claire I'm finally taking my jump into the fictional world building process. It's scary at times, and I'll admit it's the hardest part of this novel so far. Last night I dedicated hours to world building instead of any editing. At the end of the day I know the structure for Clara's world needs to be strong enough for the rest of the story to hold up. And I find myself reading blogs and advice tips about how to write about a fictional place. The hardest part is remembering that while you do need it to make sense, you're allowed to have fun with it.
What drew me to this new adventure in a fictional place? It just felt like the right way to tell Clara's story. I tried to place the novel in a modern day setting and it did not feel right. I played around with a lot of different ideas, but with Clara being a mage I decided this new magical system and magical beings can live in a world of their own.
Without giving away too much of the story, I'm working with a magical world that lives spread out amongst three islands. Islands are interesting too; I've never worked this closely with islands before. The whole idea of the the ocean separate three different islands always fascinates me because... well, I haven't done it before, so it leads to other questions of transportation and etc. While plucking my brains, I am having fun with world building. I can imagine the islands in my head, and it keeps my brain busy at night (and at work). Ideas are constantly coming to me, and at the end of this I know Clara's world will be something unique and different. She definitely isn't making it easy for me, but I would not want to have it any other way. Writing about a fictional world definitely is not an easy task, but they say to write what you're afraid of. And this is definitely taking me out of my comfort zone --but in a good way.
Once I'm finished with the novel I will feel more comfortable about giving advice on fictional worlds. For now I want to get ahold of Clara's world and make it stronger and more stable. When I'm finally finished and satisfied I'll be going more into detail in regards with my experience and any suggestions I can offer to other authors. All I can say for now is if you've ever considered writing it it's definitely worth the challenge.

As for other news, a new month has started! March is here, and it seems like somehow we flew through January and February. Usually I write an individual post about the beginning of the month, but I decided to incorporate it with this post. January was a huge month for me, since I finished writing Clara and Claire. February was the start of the editing process, but as I realized last month there is a lot of work to be done on my first draft. A lot of people ask me on a daily basis when the book will be done and ready to release. And at this point in the process I have no idea. All I know is I'm working hard without overworking myself (considering I also work full time outside of writing). I have so many ideas and ways to improve my first draft of this novel. It won't be easy work, but the best kind of work never is done in a day. Or even in a month for that matter, so I'm not angry at myself for not finishing edits in February. So this month I'll continue on with edits, and as always keep you updated with the process.
Lindsey Richardson