A Question About Writing; from Gail Simone

30 Apr

Gail Simone didn’t reach out to me personally and ask this.  She made a general call on her tumblr, which I answered there, but decided to share it here as well.


Yesterday, I asked a seemingly innocuous question on Twitter and was completely flooded with responses, many from quite famous and successful writers. I was surprised by the wave of responses, and found it all very interesting.

So I thought I’d ask the question here, as well, for writers of fiction only, please.

What part of the writing process is your favorite? I’m talking about the actual writing, not the aftermath or the effects of it. During your writing of a story, what is your favorite part of doing that work?

I sent Gail a comment about this, but it deserves a longer answer.

So far, I’ve written material in three decidedly different worlds: western fantasy with Black Mask & Pale Rider; super heroes with Canyons of Steel (and the work I’m doing on the Heroic League Project); straight up sci fi with Rocket Fox.

While I love the aspect of plotting and getting things down into a cohesive time line, it’s a long process.  Especially for a work like The Heroic League Project.  The story covers more than 40 years with different characters coming in and some leaving.  With each, it’s my hope that I don’t portray characters and interpersonal relationships as stereotypical.  With Rocket Fox, it’s been a bit easier, because the characters are a completely fictional species, though they are based on observations and research on human cultures.

A lot of research is needed to make sure everything is right.  In Black Mask & Pale Rider, the smallest thing I had to do was make sure that the towns and cities mentioned actually existed in 1863.  I also had to ensure that when I mentioned people who were a part of a Native American tribe, that they were the right tribe (Pania helps three Natives in Pennsylvania, it would be lazy to just say they were Mohawk or Dakota or Apache, especially considering that those nations might not have inhabited what is now Pennsylvania).

Historical facts are also necessary.  One might think that in the Heroic League, you wouldn’t have to do much research, but you do.  This story takes place in our world, beginning in the 1970s.  It happens around the October Crisis when the FLQ was terrorizing Quebec.

Getting all of the plot points down is fun, but actually writing the scenes is the best part for me.  All of the grunt work is done, and it’s time to breath life into the story, the scene, and the characters.  It’s especially gratifying when the scene works out well.  Shani’s gunfight with Dorval; Pania’s duel in the caboose of a train; Shani climbing onto the roof of a train to avoid a passenger car of vampires; the reveal of the Nighthawk in Rocket Fox; the rough ball match between House Ocelot and House Fennec.  Stuff like that is the part I love.  It’s the stuff that keeps me going, and even expanding on the character interaction.

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Posted by on April 30, 2014 in Writing


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