There’s a bit of inspiration to be taken from all over the place, I’m not really big on sitting out in nature and looking to be inspired. In fact I never really believed in that Romanticized version of writing habits that were common with the likes of Shelly, Keats and Wordsworth.
Instead I always took it upon myself to remember that if you needed to write, that you needed to take it seriously and treat it like a job rather than some passing fancy which you indulged only where there was nothing else to do. You need to do away with any distraction and make yourself actually do the work. Sometimes that means being a little anti-social or putting the phone on silent. It’s easiest to explain to your friends beforehand what you’re doing and what kind of dedication it takes and needs.
But I’m getting away from myself, lately here I have been writing again and this is becoming sort of a reimagining of Keep Austin Safe, rather than an entirely new story or even a simple rewrite. I ended up changing a lot of the larger points in it and even some of the characterization and the look of the characters. I don’t think I have come up with anything ground breaking, but I have decided to represent a wider array of characters in this story.
I’m pretty sure that I mentioned before that Lewis and Holly slipped into the story out of nowhere, which is actually a huge change. But I have actually began to change the other characters in slight ways like appearance and personality and the like. I sometimes wonder about things like this and these kind of small aesthetic changes and wonder if this is something that happens with all authors or if this is just something that certain people do. Perhaps it’s seen as somewhat amateurish?
Then again there are all these stories about characters changing after conception. There’s things like Ed from Cowboy Bebop being a boy before. And then there’s Elaine, who never existed in the original Seinfeld pilot. Obviously things change after the original idea is conceived. That’s editing. That’s just a natural part of the writing process.
But I think it’s silly to think that any change like that doesn’t have a rippling effect. Even changing the hair color of one of the characters could change how people perceive them. Look at how society thinks of blondes as opposed to brunettes. Or how a bald man is seen differently from a man with a ponytail. A lot of authors seem to think that appearances don’t mean much, but how often do we judge others based simply on what we see of them?
True, it’s naïve to write using clichéd appearance traits to try and describe the personality of your character, but it’s probably just a naïve to think that appearance counts for nothing in a society where beauty products for hair alone are a billion dollar a year industry.
In an attempt to make things more sensible I am going to shy away from idealized characters and more toward realism. Of course realism isn’t going to be the thing people associate most with fantasy writing, but in a way it still needs to be. Things need to be realistic for the world that they exist in. There’s some kind of boundary or place for this in every fantasy world.
I try too hard not to concentrate on these things, I got stuck in that trap before and never stopped building the world and the characters—it seems like now I just need to write.