The Story Writing Process
The Stuff of Story
When writing a fantasy fiction story one of the first things I do is decide on a basic story idea, defining what it will be about. For instance, Son of Cain came into being as a result of wanting to write a story about the magnitude of God’s grace, Word of Honor the faithfulness of God to His promises, Wanzalara’s Cottage the faithfulness of God in the face of abuse, and so on. I want my stories to be great fantasy while at the same time honoring God and truth—not “my truth,” but His truth.
Once I decide on the basic premise of a story I create the story realm that best fits the story concept forming in my mind. I create the realm in my mind and then map it out on paper. However, Son of Cain was an exception. I did not paper-map a realm for that story, although I did have a basic picture of the nature of the realm tucked away in my mind. I probably should include the maps in my books, but I have not done so to date. I have left it for people to imagine as they go.
Prior to all of the above and somewhat disconnected from that part of the process is the development of character names. I have developed lists of names that encompass the common to the unusual, from everyday names to names that are more tribal in nature or might be common to a particular realm. That is especially true of Word of Honor—though some have indicated that the names can be difficult to pronounce. My rule is: Pronounce them as you will. However, included in Word of Honor you will find a helpful list of characters with name pronunciations as well as a brief description of each character. I get names from lists of names for babies, from actual people’s names that I hear, from my reading, and just from internal brainstorming. When I write a story I go to my list and choose names that fit the story characters and the nature of the realm. And in the process I might make up new names.