One of the things I enjoy most about reading and writing Science Fiction and Fantasy is the sheer joy of creating. Creating the mental images and histories when reading others works, and creating the worlds and characters themselves when writing my own. Especially early on, when I let myself go and just see what comes. Usually something that starts with a single image, idea or what if?
Like one story I’m currently working on. It started with the image of a battle weary warrior, a dragon slayer. Slowly over time the character behind that image emerged, his past hard and violent. Eventually my vision widened and I began to see the world around him, bit by bit. Flashes of more images, some from the past, some from the future in relation to the original character image.
This particular story has been percolating in the background of my mind since high school, put on the back burner while I focused more on my Science Fiction world and the stories in it. But when I completed the manuscript for Starfire, I began filtering through my story ideas for something different that might be more marketable.
This story popped to the surface quickly and suddenly the world was ready to be fleshed out even more. A fantasy but set in a not-quite industrial revolution time period, along the lines of Steampunk, but not quite. And one not set in a European type setting, but more of a North American setting. Foregoing dwarves and elves for new races.
As of yet there was still only the rudimentary idea for a story, one involving a dragon slayer. Yet as the world continued to grow and expand, with the inhabitants and technology in my mind, the story grew with it. Until at last the basic premise blossomed into the full fledged plot.
A dragon slayer, cursed with the memories of a dragon, must seek out a lost chamber where he hopes to find the means to lift the curse. Along the way he gains a troupe of mismatched adventurers, each with an agenda of their own. Together they must face a sinister evil and its nightmare minions, while constantly being hounded by bounty hunters. But the slayer is determined that nothing will stop him from lifting his curse, not even the end of the world.
And once the plot fell into place, that is when the creation really takes off, as with each new scene some new tidbit of information, geography, technology, character, plant, animal or society arises. And each tidbit triggers many more sparks of insight that deepen the world and the people that inhabit it.
That’s what I love about this genre. The freedom to go where the whim takes you. The ability to shape worlds.