Today I’m delighted to introduce fantasy writer Lucy Summers. I met Lucy in an online writing community a few months ago. She’s always the one sharing helpful and encouraging things, for which we’re all very grateful! Lucy’s just finished her first novel and is about to embark upon the quest of getting it published. Enough of me, here’s Lucy:
You can keep in touch with Lucy on Facebook.
I find inspiration in almost anything. The tiniest little thing can set off my characters and trigger them to begin talking about their world and lives.
Thing is, I never set out to write a novel. Sure, I’d dabbled in writing as a teen, basic stories that are so cringe-worthy I feel much like Elrond from Lord of the Rings shouting to cast them into the fire and destroy them. I’d even taken a few college creative writing courses, because who says no to fun electives, but I never intended to actually write a novel. I think that’s why I was so unprepared for the journey. I hadn’t tested the creative limits of my mind in years so when one of my main characters, Thane, became “mind-born” after seeing a motivational photo post on Facebook, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. And at first, like all mature, grown-up adults do when they are faced with a problem, I ignored it. I let him stew in my brain for two weeks, listening to his soft, quiet voice telling me about his life. Annoyed, I thought I could silence him by simply penning down a few lines about him and that would shut him up and let me return to living in my mundane little word. I, of course, was a fool. My only-going-to-be-a-few-page write up suddenly surfaced two more characters, Ryale Stromstorm and Daemon Arroyan. Before I really was even aware of it, I was writing a fantasy novel.
Two years later, I’m still on that journey, but unlike my past scribbles, this story took hold of my life. Since I work a pretty amazing day job that I actually love, most of my writing is done at night (I have no memory of sleep) or on weekends where some great life event (like eating) doesn’t pull me away from my laptop.
I need complete silence to write. Even the neighbour’s obnoxiously loud dog can interrupt my flow and give my mind an excuse to think about why Netflix is a better idea than throwing words on a page. But in the quiet I find focus. I also find being alone essential. I’m not one that can sit in a coffee shop or anywhere with lots of people and whip out a new chapter. I need to be alone, in silence, curled up in fluffy pillows. I attempted to write on an aeroplane recently and instead found myself paranoid the guy next to me was reading my draft. I’m pretty sure by the end of that flight he must have thought I was checking him out. I haven’t attempted to write in public since…
I’ve never been much of a planner. I live my life with a lot of spontaneity and I think that comes through in how I manage my writing. I just don’t enjoy knowing the entire layout of a story. I find most of the fun is in discovering it scene by scene and letting it unfold. To me, it gives a greater balance of creative freedom and doesn’t make me feel like bumpers on a bowling alley lane, allowed to bounce around but ultimately forced to remain in guidelines I created for myself. That’s just not me. If I already know what is going to happen, I lose interest. And in order to really learn my characters, I need the freedom to explore their world and their personalities.
In order to really grasp who Thane, Ryale, and Daemon were, I began to cosplay them. I wanted to feel what they felt as I wrote about their travels. I wanted my writing to be as immersive as possible. So I became them. As a real-life archer and horseback rider, it seemed simple enough. Donning my cloak and bow and arrow, I asked a friend to photograph me riding. By feeling the tug of the cloak on my throat, my horse moving beneath me, and the twang of the bow, I could more accurately articulate what they felt. Just a bit of imagination and I could picture myself in a scene. It’s now a common thing for me to snap daggers to my belt and a hood over my head and strut off to a forest or other area, gathering stares for being in public in full medieval garb. But I don’t really mind. It brought to life my creations and fueled my passion for fantasy.
Creating the world of Ashtrean and finding these three characters has been an adventure I didn’t expect to take, and one that I thank God above for. I have plans to create the story into a trilogy, which means my literary journey is just beginning. I’m in edits with an editor now and hope to query publishers and agents in the spring. I am so humbled by the opportunity to be a writer and forever grateful to those who have shown support. To all who aspire to write, I leave you this: believe in yourself and what you can do. Your only limitations are the ones that you give yourself. Write on!
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