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A Writing Journey


Part 1:
A Book is Born

Every story starts with an idea. That idea can come from anywhere, and be anything. It may carry you straight into a first draft, or it may simmer on the back burner for a decade before it's finally ready to see the light.

For me, ideas come from many things; a wondering of ‘what would happen in a world like this?’ or ‘imagine if people could do that?’ or ‘wouldn’t it be cool if...’. Sometimes, I have a feeling or tone in mind for a story, or a specific trope I'd like to use. Other times, characters just arrive in my head, looking for a home.

The process is difficult to describe, because it is not always conscious. Often, it is a string of little thoughts and musings in the back of my mind, slowly banding together until they become "An Idea".

Once "An Idea" has formed, I’ll grab a computer or pen and paper and start jotting down notes. If I’m feeling inspired, I’ll start a new document, type Chapter One at the top, and write for as long as the inspiration lasts. I usually get anything from three paragraphs to three chapters before I run out of interest and ideas.

Then, it goes on the back burner of my mind, where I keep pondering it until I have enough ideas and inspiration to write a fully-fleshed novel.

In the case of When Shadows Fall, the initial inspiration was unusual for me. While in high school, I had a dream that I was in my creative writing class and we were given an assignment, in which we had to write a story using a random, made-up title. A classmate got the title “When Shadows Fall” and complained that he didn’t know what to do with it. I was shocked at his reaction, and told him it was a brilliant title. I proceeded to rattle off a premise for a story where the world takes on some terrifying change at night and the main character has to rescue someone using a road that only appears after sunset (when shadows fall).

When I woke up, I was impressed enough with the idea that I wrote down some notes, along with the first couple pages. Then I shelved the concept, opting to wait until I had enough ideas and inspiration to make a go of it. Though I did some brainstorming for it on and off in the following years, it wasn't until the summer of 2017 that it finally became "An Idea", thanks to the addition of a new world-building concept.

That concept was emotionry, a fantasy technology that would run on emotions. I instantly knew I had to use it in one of my stories, and When Shadows Fall turned out to be a perfect fit. Emotionry breathed life into what had been a dull and uninteresting world, and also paved the way for the exciting climax that had been sorely lacking from my original premise.

With that crucial piece of world-building added to the characters and plot I had already developed, the story was finally ready to be told...

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