Tuesday, April 8, 2014
What if the world wasn’t round? What if we all lived forever? What if we could simply rub a genie bottle and all of our dreams would come true? What if?
One of the most common questions I’m asked by readers, friends, and family, is how I come up with my ideas. Maybe they ask because I write Urban Fantasy, or because I set my stories in dystopian, post-apocalyptic worlds, or maybe they are just trying to discern how crazy I am. Regardless, I get asked this question a lot, so let me try to answer it. It all boils down to a complicated game of what if.
My creative process is far from unique. I create my two main characters by sketching out their redeeming qualities as well as their imperfections. To do this, I draw on my own life experiences. I was born a people watcher. It’s both a gift and a curse. I love to see how people interact with one another and the environment around them. I find it very distracting (as my husband will attest to). Every individual is unique and interesting in their own way. I want my characters to reflect that. It is important to me that my characters be multi-faceted and unique, yet also believable.
Once I have a good handle on my characters and their personalities, I drop them in an environment of my choosing. Usually it’s a fantastical world or alternate reality. For example, in Shadows of Fate, they are in Denver, Colorado (well an alternate post-apocalyptic version of Denver). I choose these types of locations because I love world building. Creating a universe from the ground up is a challenge I find hard to pass up. Maybe it’s because I’m a control freak, and I love working within a world of my choosing, made with my rules. Or maybe it’s because it’s easier for me to work within the confines of my own world than one that already exists. Either way, that’s how I roll.
At this point, if I was smart, I would start sketching out my scenes and organizing my plot. Well, I never claimed to be smart. I tend to do things the difficult way. Sometimes it works, and sometimes, not so much. But, regardless, I get to have a little fun. With my characters fully realized and in place in their world, I close my eyes, concentrate, and try to think of the worst possible thing that could happen to them in their current circumstances (yes, I’m evil that way) then try to figure out how they will react. Once they conquer that challenge, I do it again, and again, and again. You get the point. It all adds up to a complex game of what if.
So where do I get my ideas? How do I flesh out my book? I give my characters the floor. My stories grow from my characters and their organic reactions to their circumstances. I provide the scenery and the conflict, they provide the resolution. And together we create a story.
Angela Dennis lives outside Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, son and a sheltie with a hero complex. When she is not at her computer crafting stories, she can be found feeding her coffee addiction, playing peek-a-boo, or teaching her son about the great adventures found only in books.
You can visit Angela at her blog www.angeladennisauthor.blogspot.com or at her website www.angeladennisauthor.com. She loves to hear from her readers, so feel free to email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Meg Benjamin at 4:00 AM