Writing is a funny thing, sometimes. People often assume that a story will run under the control of an author, doing what we tell it to do when we tell it to do so – but if that were really the case, then SongForge 3 and Aspen Portal 2 would be complete, and Raven King would probably have never been written. The truth is, the story itself drives things as much as the writer. Characters grow and change, doing things not even the writer expects and taking the story on a new tack. It’s one of the things I love about writing, and some of my favourite sections of writing have been completely spur of the moment, based on who that particular character was and how they would react to the things happening around them.
The only down side to this is I find I have to really be into the groove of writing for those characters to make it good. If I’m feeling too tired, or my head is too full of other stuff to really connect with what I’m doing, then the words aren’t going to come out right. In fact, they’ll be terrible, which will make me not want to come back to the story because it’s just not flowing properly. Then I need to slog through the next few paragraphs until I get some spark of inspiration and I get a few great pages out again (which might take a while!!).
Sometimes, if the inspiration and imagination is driving you towards something else, it’s better to down tools on one project, and pursue the story your mind is stuck on. That’s what happened with Raven King – Aspen Portal 2 was not coming easy, and I was forever thinking about this other story. My wife said “why don’t you just write this new one and come back to Aspen?”. So I did, and I came up with one of my best manuscripts ever (well, I think so, anyway).
At the moment, I have been mulling over a story that I started making up on the holidays for my two boys. It was about them, set in our back yard with characters they knew (their Grannie, their friends and themselves). They have been asking quite a bit lately for me to retell it, and I decided why not put pen to paper and write it properly for them to enjoy? So while the idea is bright in my mind (and the kids are still excited about it) I have been writing this story for them. And when this story is told, and that spark of imagination satisfied, maybe the winds will blow me back to SongForge or Aspen and I can reconnect with my old friends in those stories.