I have been writing pretty much all of my life, but it was only about three years ago that I had the opportunity to completely retire from real life and focus on fantasy full time. “Skipper,” is the name of my story in Tall Tales & Short Stories, and the story idea came to me one morning as I was waking up out of an odd dream. The character, Skipper, stuck in my mind and I felt that I needed to write something down about him immediately, or else he would soon be lost in the fog and confusion that is my daytime brain. As soon as I started writing, the entire story bled out onto the paper in just a few minutes of typing. Of course, there was some follow up editing necessary, which took a bit longer than the initial writing session.
Many of my stories evolve from dreams or a series of stray thoughts. I start with a very clear picture of a character or scene, then I sit down at my computer and try to figure out how that person or event came to be. It makes for some very interesting tales (not all of which make it past the first draft stage).
I don’t typically plan out a story. I let characters take me where they want to go and, more often than not, I am finding out what happens to them as I type. For longer works, such as novels, I have to use a little more planning. I think about main points of the plot, or specific events that have to happen to reach the ending I have in mind. However, when I start writing, getting from one known point to another is often still a surprise and an adventure.
Writing a new story, for me, is sheer pleasure. I can get lost in creating my own story as easily as when I’m reading something new from a favorite author. I have many times sat down to write for what I thought was a few minutes, only to discover that several hours have passed. My mind is always playing with storylines and characters and, even when I should be focusing on something else, I am often distracted by the whirlwind of ideas in my head. The only relief I get from my own vivid imagination is when I can finally sit and write down some of those thoughts. Perhaps one day, I will reach a point that writing feels like work and a chore, but I truly hope that day does not come for a very long time.