Forming The Idea For My Novel (The Goblin Chronicles – Book 1), by Russell Cornhill
Hi. My name is Russell Cornhill and I mainly write fantasy satire – though I might branch to any form of spec fiction.
I have over forty ideas to be written as novels and have written and rewritten three manuscripts, all currently on the shelf awaiting another rewrite – though I’m reasonably satisfied with ‘Alternities’ and ‘The Year Reality Broke’.
The Goblin Chronicles was originally nine stand-alone ideas for fantasy satire with goblins as the central characters. I started writing the one that was bubbling and wrote a couple of short pieces as a fun bit of background. That’s when the idea occurred that I could link all nine ideas chronologically with a background story that would culminate in a tenth story; the only one concentrating on the overall story.
The problem was that the one I’d started writing fitted best as number six in the series.
Then came the chance to join The Australian Literature Review‘s Novel Manuscript Development Program. I put away book six and frantically started book one, which wasn’t bubbling and was, at best, a vague idea.
The first meeting was basically a get-to-know each other and what we wrote. Okay, I wasn’t shot down in flames.
The next two sessions concentrated on planning. This was good as I’ve slowly realised I’m more of a planner than a ‘seat of the pantser’ but this was when I realised I had another problem. Being something of a satirist, I tend to come from the theme or basic idea first. Then I weave a story around it. Then I create the characters, often while I’m writing. Yes, it doesn’t always work exactly in that order, but that’s the general procedure.
The problem was that the satire and theme I had planned didn’t really fit into the story as it had started to develop. It required a more developed society than I was working with and, you know how it is, the characters didn’t want to change.
Never mind, things were starting to bubble, characters were starting to form, and a slightly different theme, also ripe for some satire had begun to form. The result is that this manuscript will probably be more story based and less satire based than my normal writing. Perhaps that’s a good thing
I do try to keep the satire in the background. I’m writing a story, not standing behind the pulpit preaching. Anyhow, I don’t pretend to know any answers, just, hopefully pointing out a few of the many absurdities in human society.
That’s about it. Now we’re concentrating on the writing and I’ve almost got myself organised. Working closely with three others is a great help and Steve is an excellent guide. Let’s hope a few people from the overall program can write that breakthrough novel.