Imagination and What To Do When It Runs Away


I thought I would write about imagination today. It’s not a subject I’ve touched on before, but it is a crucial part of writing. The reason I chose to blog about this today is because I was sent a link to an eBook (link at the end of the post) called Everflame, which I thought was exceptionally imaginative.

Now, sometimes I feel as if my own writing loses its sense of imagination as I progress with it. I have all these fantastic ideas in the planning stage of my story, but they get lost along the way and I end up with something far more grounded and ‘human’ that I’d planned. Usually, this really annoys me. I do want strange fantasy creatures and stunning magical battles, but some part of me says: ‘No, we’re sticking to humans, gritty realism and a realistic plot.’

The only trouble with this, however, is that if I’m not careful, I end up writing something that’s not really fantasy, but modern-day people with weird names, wearing weird clothes and living in a carbon copy of Earth. As a fantasy writer and reader, it’s not fun writing this sort of story. I soon get tired with the banality of it all and long for at least some element of fantasy to rear its head. That’s when things start to fall apart. That’s when I stick in a dragon. You know the trouble with doing this? It scuttles any sense of plot that you had and it causes the story to plunge to the murky depths of your mind, never to return.

With my current project, however, I’m pleased to say I’ve made a change. I started out with the plot and the setting. Then I began to incorporate some original, not over-the-top, fantasy species (not races – Africans and Europeans are races, elves and dwarves are not… well, they could be, if you explain it as an evolutionary change). Next, I make sure that these species truly fit into the world. If not, they’re gone. What I mean by this is having dragons in your world but no history to make them believable or a suitable environment to sustain them. Only once all the above was done, did I start to write. Now, I have an interesting, truly fantasy world with a halfway decent plot to match.

Next time your imagination ‘runs away’ (i.e. abandons you mid-story), stop and take a look at your project as a whole. Figure out what’s missing and try to weave it into the world so it doesn’t feel out of place. Don’t stick in a dragon for the sake of it and certainly don’t try to make your story something that it’s not.

Until next time, adieu.

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One thought on “Imagination and What To Do When It Runs Away

  1. hereticfox 10-Apr-2012 / 08:59

    Blend, blend, blend!

    You know one thing I truly adore about George R. R. Martin’s style? Even the characters in his world are skeptical about the existence of trolls, dragons, and Others! If you keep your story gritty and realistic, then when you throw in a curveball like the appearance of a dragon, it’s almost like reintroducing the creature altogether.

    Personally, I believe the best fix is to leave in the legends of dragons and things; then attach them to creatures who scarcely hold resemblence. So when one of those “dragons” finally crawls out of a volcano, drooling magma and breathing sulfur; -everybody- is slapped out of their chair.

    Pull it off well, and you can be guaranteed that the readers will hold their breath when you show off those fantasy creatures.

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