I’m a writer who (almost always) writes about practical, down-to-earth things. The stuff of everyday life. Mysteries grounded in the real world. A wrongful arrest. A stolen dog. Love stories. Falling in. Falling out. Trials and tribulations therein. The human condition. Etc.
So, when I recently typed “THE END” on my latest WIP (a mystery novel about—wait for it—a woman who turns to solving neighbors’ mysteries to resolve her real-life problems) with no idea whatsoever what I wanted to write next, and the very next day I had a new idea for a new story, it was serendipity—magic itself.
But here’s the part I wasn’t prepared for. This new story that came to me in a flash, while walking toward my daily 10,000 steps, is definitely not based in reality. This story is straight-up fantasy. Okay, that’s not right. It involves a clash between the real world and a made-up world.
A Brand-New World
Which brings me to PROBLEM 1. This story will involve world-building. This is the first hurdle. How can I write about [INSERT TOP SECRET IDEA HERE*] when I’ve never “built a world”? The closest I’ve come is writing historial fiction. This world I will need to write is fantastical, and I will (not necessarily) have anything to go on but (maybe) fairytales.
Leading to PROBLEM 2. I love researching as I write. But with a fantasy world, who’s to tell me except myself what is and isn’t “real”? What does and doesn’t belong in the story? Will I miss the real-life research?
From there, I immediately leap to PROBLEM 3. How can I—a writer who’s never written or thought in fantasy—know how to write a story or a world like this? I’m afraid I won’t be able to describe what I see in my mind. If I write about a dog, you see a dog in your mind’s eye. But if I write about a group of Plagoria jangaleria, each no bigger than your index finger, what do you see? This worries me. You all know what I mean when I say worry. Same with sadness or love. But if I say I’m wavregging? Huh? And if I write about inanimate objects’ emotions, like a black hole’s feelings as it implodes?