Writing in a Blender

The other day I was sitting in my favorite coffee shop typing away on my word processor. I was minding my own business when a couple walked up to me. They asked me what I was doing because it seemed like I was typing something that was really important. The actual phrase they used involved the words “manic” and “mad man” but you get the kernel of meaning. I explained to them I was working on a novel called New Fallen and then went on to explain far more than they ever wanted to know. The young man asked me a question that I couldn’t answer very well. He asked, “So how do you write a novel the way you are doing it?”

That got me thinking about the “process” (for lack of a better word) I use when I start writing. Let me begin by saying that I do not recommend this method for anyone else. It works really well for me, but I’m not normal. Looking at the process used by other writers like James Patterson and organized writers, I am impressed. They outline out the whole story in painstaking detail. For me, that would be painful detail. My style is like a blender. I know where my stories begin and where they end. The middle part is always spinning around until it finally stops.
For example, Angelcide was my first novel. I knew that I was going to have Ezekiel (the angel) and Anthony (the human) as my main characters. There would be some demons causing problems here and there and some angels helping them out. Zeke was going to be the straight man to Tone’s off the wall comedy. The secret to Tone’s identity was planned from the beginning; however, Zeke’s personality changed after the book was complete. He needed more attitude so I rewrote many of his parts. There also needed to be some kind of really powerful villain that could kill angels and demons. (SPOILER ALERT) It also seemed like a good idea to have the main characters survive in case I wanted to write another one about them. Other than that, I wasn’t too sure what was going to happen.
About chapter three, I had made some decisions about the bad guy, Bubba. (No, I didn’t start off calling him that. That was Tone’s idea.) I finally knew what he was. It wasn’t until chapter eight that I knew who Bubba really was. I wrote the epilogue at that point.
Some of the supporting characters just showed up in the story. I was really surprised by several of them. Arino, the healing angel, was not part of the plan until Tone got hurt. Then she left, came back and wouldn’t leave. Nazilaq and Irkja, the angels in the skimmer, also wanted to be in the story when I discovered that there were rivers in the Spiritscape. Irkja reminded me a lot of several professors I had in college and grad school. Every one of the demons just jumped into the story. A couple of them were inspired by some teachers I’ve had, too. Zadrol was a major surprise. He just came around to cause trouble. When he appeared in the story, I actually said, “Hmmm. I didn’t see that coming.” You would think I would know what was going to happen. I really didn’t.
When I write a story, I let my imagination go wherever it wants. It is a fun way to write. Now the down side: it takes a lot of editing after the fact. There are a few characters who wanted to be part of the story but just didn’t fit in and got edited out. Most of them understood and several of them have lobbied to be in New Fallen. Torkel, the angel mechanic, made a good case for being included in the next book so he already has a cool part to play. Also, the unicorns that Tone wanted to see in Angelcide scare the crap out of him in New Fallen. A few more characters – mostly demons – are getting a role to play. There are a few that are so rude that I just won’t use them. I won’t have figments of my imagination pushing me around!
Does that make any sense? I hope not. I have no clue how I write either.