Where do we go from here?

Visitors to my site, readers of my blog and my followers on Twitter and Facebook might be aware that I’ve just come to the end of my Camelot 2050 trilogy. That’s right folks, Dark Magic is soon to be available for you to buy, read and enjoy, but what does that mean for me?

Well, Camelot 2050 is project that built up over the past 15 years or so and led me into self-published writing and, now that it’s done it’s time to move on. The foreseeable future is going to be dedicated to writing a stand-alone novel that I will be submitting to agents and publishers in the hopes of getting a conventional publishing deal but first, I have to write that story so it’s back to ‘the process’.

I’ve seen some phrases bounced around the #WritingCommunity on Twitter, Planner, Pantser and Planser. I might be a little off in my interpretations but as I understand them they are as follows.

Planner – an author who writes copious notes about setting, story events and characters before setting out on a draft.

Pantser – to write ‘by the seat of your pants’, an author who lets the story grow and develop organically as it comes to them.

Planser – something between the two, some planning but mostly an ‘as it comes’ style of writing.

Up to now I’d categorise myself as a ‘pantser’, Camelot 2050 was written to an idea I’ve been carrying for a long time. Most of thew big events had taken shape in my head years before they made it to the page so there was an element of planning but nothing written down. I’ve always worked to the ideal that, if an idea could stay with me for long enough to make it into the draft it deserved to be there, if not then no great loss. Some events fell by the wayside as the story grew naturally, that was a rare occurrence but it did happen. I know it’s sometimes helpful to see that others work in a similar way to you but I try not to get hung up on labels. Just because you might not know anyone who writes the same way as you do doesn’t make it wrong, it makes it yours.

As I start out on my new concept (something more traditionally sci-fi, I hope you’ll like it and I’ll be sharing some vague details as time goes on) I feel that, without a decade of thought behind this story I ought to embrace some more of the pre-planned style of writing. I’ve already started doing some research into the Milky Way (since the story is set in our Universe) and giving thought to some alien races to incorporate. Originality is a hard thing to achieve, there’s so much out there in all the genres that has already been done that it’s easy to feel that you’ll never be able to come up with something ‘new’. But ‘original’ and ‘distinctive’ are not mutually exclusive and the trick to solid world building is to start with the familiar and go from there. There’s a theory that there are only seven stories (more might’ve been added but, classically seven) and all the stories written since are comprised of mixed elements of each of them so concentrate on telling the story in your own voice and the rest will develop (as long as there’s no plagiarism, rewriting Star Wars in a Guy Ritchie gangster style might sound like fun but I’m sure someone would notice).

I suppose the point here is that, you should never feel like you can only write one way, always be open to change if it feels right and never be scared to experiment, you can always change the narrative later in edits.

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