Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Birth of a Novel

by Bryan W. Alaspa

First off, I just wanted to thank Mary here for allowing me to be part of her blog. It's a great thing to have fellow writers as friends and, of course, she is more than welcome over at my blog any time she wishes.

It's a weird thing being a writer. People often look at you a bit funny when you mention that you are one. They want to know where you get your stories. They want to know here those ideas gestate and mutate and become real. They wonder how often you write, and how much. How many words makes a novel? How do you know when it's done? How do you edit the work and when is it ready for publication or to shop around to publishers? How do you do it? What's the magic?

The truth is that there is no magic to it. It's just something you can do if you're a writer. I was born with it, I guess. Even before I knew what writing was, I was the kid who made up the games and scenarios my friends and I played, acting as a kind of director and screenwriter for whatever it was we were doing. It's why I could spend hours and hours playing all by myself, too, without being bored. The stories were there, wild and crazy. Maybe it means I never grew up.

I would love it if there was a website or Story Store somewhere that I could go to and pick up the various elements of a story and then just assemble them at home. Maybe a literary IKEA, but such a thing does not exist. The ideas I get for stories come from a variety of places.

For me, most of the time, these days, it takes me two or three months to write a novel. For some that's fast and I know quite a few who work on a novel for a decade or more. What I call the creation is the actual writing of it. Sometimes a story will bounce around inside my brain for years before I can sit down and write out a story that even tries to make any sense.

Take my latest work - The Lightning Weaver. It started with my wife who said that there had been a few times in her life when lightning had struck very close to her. She had so far, luckily, not been hit, but it had been close. She called herself a Lightning Bringer and I thought that was a marvelous idea for a story. It kicked around in my head, like a rock in a rock polisher, tumbling and turning for years in search of a story. An idea is great, but without characters, a beginning, middle and end, you don't have much.

It was years before I realized that the novel would feature a young girl who appears to bring lightning to her whenever a storm comes. It took years for me to realize that she would develop the ability to control that electricity and years for me to realize that she would be one of a race of people known as Elementals and that the story of the Lightning Bringer would be the first in a four part series.

It all just kind of fell into place one day when I was on my way to the grocery store. It happens like that sometimes.

It was a publisher who said that the title of The Lightning Bringer didn't quite work so well. I went back and forth with them until we came up with The Lightning Weaver and I realized she had been a "weaver" more than a "bringer" from the get-go. It pays to have good friends, too.

It took a while for this story to get written and edited and now ready for you to read. It's the first of four, and the second novel is already done in first-draft form and the third one will be started sometime in 2015. It's a fantastic journey filled with adventure, thrills, chills, bad guys, good guys and lots of fun (I hope). I hope you'll take the journey with me

See, that's the thing about being a writer. You nurture that story for a long time and then you just have to let it go out on its own. It has to stand and fall on its own. You, as the writer, might have birthed it, but now it has to go find its own place.

That's the hard part, but with this story, I think it will find a home. I think you'll like it.

Thank you for your time

You can find Bryan Alaspa's new novel The Lightning Weaver in Kindle and print editions here: http://bryanwalaspa.com/books/the-lightning-weaver-the-elementals-part-one/

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