The Writer’s Hydra

Over the past few years, I’ve mainly forced on the final touches for Death’s Island. Editing, cropping, and finalizing until I have reached the complete manuscript. Now, I think back to how I started. Like any hero, a writer must face three challenges before starting their journey: Settings, Plot Line, and Characters. I call them the Writer’s Hydra. Once you slice one of these heads, a number of questions emerge and your answers affect the development of the novel.

Settings: The classic ‘where’ and ‘when’. The settings are crucial for a young novel’s development. However, deciding which settings to use can become difficult. The time, places, cultures, and moods all need to fall together. If one thing is misplaced or out of line, the novel can become weakened by the process.

Plot Line: What’s a story without a plot? The events, the challenges, the climax – they are the soul of the novel. The placing of each is vital. For instance, if the climax comes too early it can spoil the rest of the novel, leaving the audience hanging until the conclusion.

Characters: The most important part of the novel. The decision you have to make: How many characters do you want to introduce? Who will be a protagonist or an antagonist? Who will live or who will meet Death? Then there is the development of each character. You want to write characters that are realistic. Ones the audience can relate to.

It’s hard to believe that Death’s Island was once just that: concepts, character, and settings. I guess over time the process becomes so natural that you don’t even realize what you have conquered. You begin to answer questions that haven’t even come to light. Like heroes, we have our own journeys and our own monsters. I have conquered one battle, but another is on the horizon. I can’t wait to see where it takes me.