Yesterday we posted about how we build character histories, today’s post focuses on how we ‘invent’ and build our characters and their worlds. This also includes two other ‘I’ words – ‘Inspiration’ and ‘Ideas’.
Whether it be from a photograph, an overheard conversation or even a dream, inspiration can strike at any time. For me (Michelle), it tends to hit around about three or four o’clock in the morning – which is the reason I keep a notebook and a pen, with a torch in its nib, on the desk next to my bed. Photographs of various places, or just being in the place, tend to be my trigger.
For me (Loz) it tends to be a bounce, one thing and I’m off. It often bites at inconvenient times, at work or in the shower, which are awkward times to get inspired. Names and voices in particular spark for me, which I’m pretty sure is odd.
Through our different inspirations we work out basic ideas and throw them at each other. More times than not, this will result in ideas fired back, which we eventually tweak and shape together until we have a solid, well-rounded, idea – and eventually, a new WIP.
Sometimes our ideas start with characters and other times a plot. Occasionally, they start with a single scene – for example:
‘Cleo hated walking home from work in the dark, there was far too much floating around. That was why she wasn’t paying attention when the kid jumped her. He shoved her into an alley, breathing hard. “Give us your phone!”
“No!” Cleo snapped
The boy drew a blade, and snatched at her wrist, touching skin. Cleo drew in a sharp breath, knowing how this was going to end.
“Don’t…please.” Cleo felt the touch of the blade on her skin, a seam of red, thin and painful appeared on her throat. She drew in a deep breath feeling the blade bite deeper. “Quinn!!”‘
But by the end, with all the tweaking and shaping, we end up with a brand new world with its own cast of characters and certain plot points, ready to be written up. A new WIP so mashed together with each other’s and joint ideas that neither of us can remember who the hell came up with it in the first place.