How did your story start?

What was the inspiration for your current story?  If it is part of an arc, what started that?  What was the little glimmer, that sparkle, that “oh, hey!” moment that birthed the masterpiece that currently rolls from your fingertips?

I will start.  Stay with me, please.

I don’t dream.  I am not sure why, but I don’t.  I lay down, then I wake up hours later.  Maybe once every couple months something will short out in my brain, and I will dream something, but for purposes of this discussion; nothing.

One morning when I woke up, I had a sentence in my head:  “Llaewyn stopped running; he knew he was going to die.”

“Hmm.  Bummer,” I thought to myself, and went about my day.  The next morning; same thing.  It was more irritating the second time.  Two weeks later, it was still happening every day.  I knew not this prophet of self destruction, but he refused to leave me alone.  I opened up Google Documents and pounded the sentence into the text editor.  My mind appeased, I slept, and woke, happily.

For about three days.

Details started working their way into my thoughts.  Apparently he was an elf.  Apparently, his pursuer wanted something that he had.  He was in a forest.  I felt as one haunted, pursued by demons of my own creation.  Creatures I had not known invading my mind, day and night, relentless in their insistence that they be heard.

And so, on August 17, 2008 (as reported by the Google timestamp) I sat down and wrote out Llaewyn’s death.  Looking back upon it, it isn’t all that bad.  Some grammatical errors, but passable.  None of that scene remains in the current story.  There is an elf named Llaewyn.  There is an antagonist named Gelrog, though he was an orc 2 years ago.  I will share with you the torment that born in me a writer, unedited from that day in August two years ago when my sanity depended on its release:

Llaewyn stopped running.  He knew he was going to die.  As the realization hit him, a strange calm descended on him.  A calm he hadn’t known in a long time.  He looked around as he tried to catch his breath.  This part of the forest was unfamiliar to him.  The tree bark under his hand was damp and spongy, and moss was growing around the base of tree.  The sky was dark overhead, although it was early afternoon, and a gray fog blocked his vision from reaching beyond his immediate surroundings.  He could smell rotting wood and rotting flesh, the pungent odor making his stomach roll slightly as he regained control of his breathing.  His flight had taken him into a swampy portion of the Ellegraph Forest.  He was definitely in the Dark Elves territory.

Llaewyn reached into his pouch and pulled out his cargo; a small stone.  He was about to give his life in the hope of keeping it out of his pursuers hands.  As the stone glowed and pulsed slightly in his palm, Llaewyn considered his options.  The crack of a branch forced his decision.  Reaching out with his mind one final time, he opened a small hole into the magical dimension and began drawing the energies forth.  A thin wisp of energy appeared, almost like smoke.  As he pulled it forth with his mind, however, it slid out of the rift like a thick liquid, suspended in the air in front of him.

Holding the stone with his left hand, he used his right hand to weave and mold the essence into small, silvery pouch.  Llaewyn knew he didn’t have much time, and he was taking a huge risk, not knowing where the stone might end up.  He had not arranged for a receiver, and could only hope that someone would find it.  Anyone but those following him.

As he finished closing the magical container around the small stone, he heard a shout to his left.  Sweating from the physical exertion of his run, Llaewyn sealed the pouch around the stone and began to push it back through the rift.  The problem would be holding back the magical energy trying to spill forth and forcing it to flow back through the rift to the other side.  Furrowing his brow with concentration, Llaewyn closed out the physical world from his mind, forcing the rift to expand enough to take the pouch and stone with it.

Pain!  An arrow pierced into his leg.  Llaewyn had been shot before, but the distraction of the impact caused the magical pouch to falter in it’s journey back into the other dimension.  Focusing his mind, Llaewyn continued his efforts.  Another arrow hit him, in the shoulder this time.  Ignoring the pain Llaewyn pushed with all his might, reaching his hand out as if to physically force the magical energies through the rift.  When the third arrow hit him, he knew he had failed.  With the shaft still protruding from below his shoulder blade, Llaewyn fought, and failed, to remain standing.  As he fell to his knees, he saw the magical energy dissolve, and the rift closed.  The stone fell softly to the ground next to him.  Picking it up, he heard his pursuer step up from behind him.

“Llaewyn.  Nice to see you again.  You have something for me, I believe?”

Llaewyn didn’t have the strength remaining to respond as he would have liked.  Gelrog always did have a way of getting under his skin.  Instead, Lleawyn remained silent.

“I see” Gelrog smiled as he walked around to face Llaewyn.  “Let me jog your memory.  Small.  Stone.  Mine.”

“It will never be yours!”  Seethed Llaewyn.  “You may possess it, but will never truly belong to you.”

Gelrog’s smile grew larger.  “We shall see who it does and does not belong to”, he grinned.  “For now, I will settle for possessing it.  And killing you.  You didn’t expect to get out of this alive, did you?”

“I knew the stakes when I accepted the mission.”

“Good.”  Gelrog’s smile vanished.  “Hand it over.”

Llaewyn didn’t move.  He heard another approaching from behind, but did not turn.  He barely flinched when Gelrog’s signal brought another arrow, from point blank range, slicing into his back.  Llaewyn could not stop himself from glancing down.  A bloody arrow head and shaft was protruding from his chest.  He had a moment to ponder the oddity of the site, as his mouth filled with the copper taste of his own blood.  The stench of the orc in front of him mixed with the putrid air of the swamp.  Llaewyn’s pride and stubborness was all that kept the tear of despair from escaping his eye.  Gelrog stood, patiently waiting for Llaewyn’s death.

After several seconds, Llaewyn could no longer hold himself upright.  Betraying no emotion, his body dropped from his kneeling position and tipped to the side.  he couldn’t watch as Gelrog stepped on his wrist, forcing open his hand.  Leaning down, he plucked the stone from Llaewyn’s open hand.

“We’ve got what we wanted, lets’ go!” Gelrog shouted to someone.  Llaewyn felt his life draining away now.  His vision was tunneling, and a black mist seemed to be closing in from the sides.  He could no longer smell the swamp air.  Suddenly, Gelrog’s face filled his view.  “Thanks, Llaewyn.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your cooperation in this.”

Llaewyn’s mind filled with thoughts of revenge that could never be carried out, and then fell silent.  Gelrog released Llaewyn’s hair, letting his lifeless body fall back to the ground, and walked away.



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8 responses to “How did your story start?

  1. It’s great that you have that first spark written down, and that you remember it so well. Thanks for sharing!

    Mine’s not nearly so cool. I started writing roleplay stories for characters I played on computer games (Everquest, Elder Scrolls, etc), and realized, “Hey, this is fun! I think I’ll keep going.” Eventually, come last fall, I started writing more than I was playing, and decided to make a serious effort at it. I made up my own fantasy world, added characters, and all the romance and drama I could throw in, and there it was. The Tallenmere series was born.

    Your not dreaming thing is something you may have noticed that Serenya also shares 🙂

    • @Mysti: That’s funny. I played a LOT of World of Warcraft. I have a character named Llaewyn. Also, I started a Draenai (I can never remember how to spell that) priestess that I started playing and ended up doing a bit of role playing with. Her character was the kernel for much of Mirian’s personality. Can’t remember the name now for some reason though.

  2. While I was writing my first novel, the title The Grave Winner just popped into my head. Nothing else, just the title.

    On my way to work every morning, I kept seeing a cardboard box on a street corner. I wondered what was in it and why it was there. My imagination came up with all sorts of possibilities for that box. Use it to transport people in a slave trade. Use it to store belts and bones (don’t ask). Bury someone in it. Oh wait! Bury someone! That’s it!

    So I opened my new novel, The Grave Winner, on a casket. Genius, I know. ; ) The rest of the story just came to me, though I’m not sure how.

    • I go through stretches where I will sit up at night and pound out 2000 words in one night. Lately, the chapter I am working on has been doing good to get a page a night out. Usually I start the night by deleting a lot of the crap that came out the night before.

      I miss the days when the story just fell out of my brain onto the screen. :^(

  3. My magnum opus, Project 154, started with an online flash game. What happened was I fell so in love with the idea behind that game’s story that first I attempted writing a novelization to amuse myself, but it then started to divert from the original. Over time, it exploded and became its own thing.

    The only thing of substance that my story shares now with the original is a couple of names. Both I’ve used far too long to be able to change.

  4. Names are a funny thing. My story has character names such as Llaewyn and Mirian, Gelrog, Traunick, Jerok, Neijen, Aelephia, etc. I had some minor characters that were named Samantha, Thomas, Tabitha, and Jonathon. I had a critiquer take me to task over boring names. I changed them because she was right, but whenever I write about Sarintha, I secretly still call her Sammy in my head. :^)

  5. Love it! Dreams haunted by words of inspiration!

    Not sure I can match that. My one finished (but unpublished) novel started as an act of defiance.

    I’d written a fair chunk of another novel, with no idea whether any of it was even vaguely readable, and joined an inline critique group and started to get feedback. This was the first time ever that I’d written anything creative since dreaded English lessons at school, and I truly had no idea what to expect. Reactions were mixed (and remarkably favourable, in hindsight) but one common theme was that everyone wanted to get into the action much quicker.

    Something finally snapped. Action? I’ll give you action! So I pictured an action-packed opening scene (crippled starship plummeting to destruction) and dashed off two chapters of an entirely new novel with no idea where the story was going. When I got a lot of encouraging feedback I decided I had to work out what was going on and finish the thing.

    Which I did.

    Bits are now being posted on CC under the title “Ghosts of Innocence”.

  6. Kelly

    I guess maybe I should tell you know that Im actually working on a book? Well its actually me and a friend of mine. We are co writing it. Its pretty interesting. We are still in the beginning stages of it. But the story line is pretty awesome if I may say.. nothing like your writings though.

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