Thursday, December 04, 2008


So. I made it twenty-four hours before my hands were itching to get started on my next project. This is a good sign. I was supposed to have two full days off, but by Tuesday afternoon, I was digging through my books and Googling mythical beasts. I did make myself hold off on beginning any actual writing, however, feeling pleased at that small victory.

Part of the problem for me is that not only is writing my job, but it’s my passion and hobby as well, so when I’m done writing, for reset and relaxation I turn to . . . more writing. Although granted, R&R writing is often different than deadline writing. Usually it involves more of the fun parts of writing, building the world, playing with the characters, toying with what if scenarios, and brainstorming.

One of the things I usually end up doing is creating entire family histories for my books or characters, often involving genealogies (werewolf rising) or timelines of their past (Theodosia) or whatever. Part of this is because it seems to me that our roots inform so much of who we become—what the expectations for us are, and how we perceived the world—that I don’t know how to write a character without knowing this about them. Think about it, even names are loaded with our past; is it of German descent or French Canadian? And if it’s different from everyone elses, why is it different? Did the character’s mother or father have a fanciful streak? Saddled with a boring name and thus vowed to name her daughter with something more glamorous/original?

I think knowing this kind of stuff helps to create a sense of history and depth to the characters lives, to make the reader feel as if they have real pasts and lives that began before they showed up on paper.

For the first time, all this history is actually a part of the backstory of Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist. He comes from a long line of explorers, adventurers, and mapmakers. This family history is bound up in two hugely important volumes, Sir Mungo Fludd’s Map of the World, and The Fludd Book of Beasts. Since these both figure so prominently, I’m creating them so I can have them to refer to throughout the book and store my research on the various mythological beasts, etc. And that is definitely a fun thing; very much akin playing, if truth be told.