Ok, not just fantasy authors, this applies to all genres, and, ok, not real magic … or is it?
Authors, Start Your Word Processors
I have read numerous times that you should write even if you are not feeling inspired because, well, to put it politely, you can always edit rubbish, but you can’t edit nothing (‘rubbish’ here serving as a more refined alternative to the original word, which, whilst eloquently making the point, was possibly not suitable for everyone’s ears!)
But What About the Magic?
“Start writing” you say? That’s not magic! I’m sure he said something about magic – that’s what made me want to read this article in the first place.
Well, it is ‘a kind of’ magic and it all happens when you let go and just write.
Go with the Flow State
Like all good magic, according to the rules, it shouldn’t work, but magic is a loose cannon and has no time for playing by the rules and so it works anyway.
I can’t count the number of times I have sat down at my keyboard, regardless of whether I have an idea in mind or not, and after a few minutes, something starts to happen: characters show aspects to their personalities that I didn’t know they had, they go ‘off script’ and start having unauthorised conversations, scenes start to develop on the page without seeking official clearance from the author, and environments assemble themselves seemingly out of nothing.
Recently, Tamsyn, one of the main characters in Lyskerrys, appeared in a scene dressed in an outfit that I didn’t even know she owned, and I thought I had made her up – if that’s not magic, then I don’t know what is!
All these things inevitably lead your writing off somewhere unexpected. I think that what happens is that we start serving as our own inspiration. We are all familiar overhearing a conversation, or turning a corner and seeing something new and ‘blam!’ – inspiration strikes. Connections are made and stories and plot lines develop all triggered by those events. Also, I think the act of writing distracts the part of our mind that gets in the way of stuff, allowing the ideas to flow.
Ease that Pressure – Get Out of the Zone
Another approach that works for me is dropping my characters into a new situation and letting them get on with things. I find it helps to put them somewhere that doesn’t fit in with the plan of the novel, this removes any pressure for it to fit in with what is ‘supposed’ to happen. Once they are outside of the novel you really can write anything you want, different style, perspective, anything. You will surprise yourself with what you come up with.
As an example, today I sent Liam (the main character in Lyskerrys) and Tamsyn off to the pub. Not only did I discover a new character serving the drinks there, but I also developed Liam and Tamsyn’s relationship. Oh, and I wrote over two thousand words in one writing session – there MUST be something usable in there.
If you can’t think of anything else, then write about them doing the dishes, at least that way if you don’t get any quality writing done you won’t have a huge pile of washing up waiting for you at the end of the day (I’m not sure that last bit actually works, but it’s got to be worth a try!).
Magic for Authors – a Summary
Next time you are stuck for inspiration, sit down at your keyboard, start to write and and let the magic happen. It doesn’t have to be something you think you will use, write about anything. Seriously, give it a try, I think you’ll be surprised – I don’t claim to have invented these ideas, but they almost always work for me.
Now, get out of here and start writing!
Oh and don’t forget to comment below and let me know how you get on.