This was written by me and originally posted on M.J. Moores blog, Infinite Pathways.
My Story Creation Process
When I come up with an idea for a story, it almost always starts with a character. Sometimes I’ll have a dream that really sticks with me and the character will come from that. Other times I have had a character pop into my head when reading other stories or just daydreaming. For instance, the character, Kado, in my Shadow Stalker series came to mind when I read The Celestine Prophecy.
Once I have an idea for a character, I give them a name and start working on their personal story. This person doesn’t necessarily become the main character, though, like with Kado. While I was developing Kado’s personality, I decided that he would be better in the “teacher/guide” role for the main character. So I then had to decide who would be my main character.
As with Shadow Stalker, this process of developing a main character went through a lot of changes. At first, the main character was a man in his mid-twenties with a family of his own. He wasn’t even a full shadow stalker. His mother was normal human and rather than being raised by Kado, he was raised by his grandparents. Then it changed to a female in her mid-twenties, but then I decided I wanted Kado to be the one to raise her, and to have it make sense that she’d still be living with him, she had to be younger. So I decided to have her just finishing secondary school.
While I’m developing the main character’s story, other characters usually start making an appearance. Originally Auren had four other friends who were going to go on the camping trip with her, but since only two of them were going to make appearances later in the story, I decided to cut the other two out. Other characters will come into the story as I start writing as well.
By the time the main character starts feeling like a real person, a story starts coming together in my mind. The main plot of the story almost always writes itself. That’s about the time that I really start planning out the story. As a first with Shadow Stalker, to prevent myself from straying from the main plot, I have written a paragraph summary of the first 12 episodes. Then I have been going through and writing a paragraph summary for each chapter in the individual episodes.
I have found that planning the stories out this way makes writing the first draft so much easier. Sometimes things will happen naturally in the story that make me change what I’m writing, but it’s easy to rewrite the outline so that I can stay on track. After the first draft is done, the editing starts. Of course, the final draft often looks nothing like the first, but following this process has always made it a lot simpler to get to that point.
Oh, and often while I’m writing I will come up with ideas for other stories. So this process could be going on simultaneously and at different stages with other stories. At the moment I’m developing three other stories while I’m busy writing Shadow Stalker. So it’s a never ending process. Not that I ever want it to end!