by Daniel L Rappaport
How I Begin
When I set out to write a novel, I often like to begin with the sense of what the entire world is going to be like, in my head. I wouldn’t have every single detail worked out, from the get go.
I often begin with what kinds of characters that will be in the work. While I am setting up the world, and what is going on in that world, I like to leave the title until I have a better grasp on what is going on.
After writing about the first there to six chapters, the title will come to me. It is perfectly okay to change the title, should you feel the need, as you are completing the work.
Getting Into Character...
For the names of the characters, I will sometimes combine two concepts Into one. As an example, for the Apovil, that name is a cross between the word “evil” and the Egyptian snake demon god “Apophis”.
Characterizations then just come from the name, and at that point, art starts to form. I like to bring on an artist to create scenery, characters, etc… It really helps to define the world. When creating art, I like to give my artists simple descriptions, without too much detail. I find that I like to see what is inside the head of the artist, a lot of times. If I have a batch of art that is already done, I will sometimes present it to another artist, so that they can get a visual reference for new art.
As I am moving forward, and developing the character arcs, I am also thinking about what kinds of adventures are to happen. I do think about what I have seen and read in other works. A lot of inspiration comes from literature, film and theme parks.
It is also, often said to begin with the end in mind. This way, you have a sense of direction, and the plot can “write itself”. Sometimes this can work, and sometimes not. I believe that it is a great idea to have a concept of what the end might be like. Don’t set it in stone if it should change.
I think that the element of a relationship and/or love story of some kind is very important. You really should have an emotional context to make your characters more realistic.
Also, if you introduce a religious backbone for your world, it will add another layer of depth. For The Legend of the Lost Rose, this happens to be Wicca. This is a direct springboard that explains how the magick is accomplished, when it needs to be rendered.
For the number of chapters to create, I like to cut it off at twenty. Anything less feels to short anything more feels to long, especially for my target audience.
In terms of editing, if you are a master at formatting and grammar, I definitely wouldn’t spend the time and money on an editor. May successful authors edit the work themselves. As well, if you feel very strongly about the creative content, I would’ve have anyone touch it. Should you feel that you need assistance in these areas, by all means, seek it.
For publishing The Legend of the Lost Rose, and The Toy Maker, I have chosen to go exclusively with Apple. This means that I am creating in iBooks Author, and self publishing with iTunes. I do have animation, and that is done in Keynote. Any video that I create could be done in a variety of programs.
The technology. I can create a far more immersive experience with Apple than anything that Amazon is currently offering. As well, especially for The Toy Maker, I would be using the software in a cutting edge way, that other people have not thought of.
Therefore, I am creating another point that I think is extremely important. That is one of innovation and market differentiation.
To create must read fiction, I believe that it is absolutely key that you don’t write just another fantasy novel (or whatever your genre is). Find some technical/artistic/immersive, etc.. way (or whatever it is) to do what nobody else out there is.