My fiancée is one of my biggest fans. But sometimes, she worries about how my mind works.
From creating a novel to writing an editorial, I tend to follow an organized thought-process that can trace its roots back to my training as an architect. Although I do not use a traditional outline when formulating a novel, I do carefully think through the multiple plots I use to guide my readers through a story. Much like designing a building, I start with an initial concept, then create a foundation and work my way up.
It is very important to me that there be several sub-plots winding their way throughout my novels. Character development and an eye for the details that tie a good adventure together need to be intertwined in such a way to maintain the interest of a variety of readers. A novel must answer all of the reader’s questions. As far as I am concerned, what might have been a great story can be ruined when plots are not completely resolved or left unnecessarily hanging with no resolution to follow.
Thus, my fiancée’s concerns about my mental wellbeing. She cannot figure out how I can have so much happening in my stories and then have everything resolved by the end of the novel. Her major worry is that I have so much going on in my head when I create my books that somehow, I will end up going crazy or that my head will explode. To help alleviate her worries, I just explain that my approach to my writing is the same as how I accomplish any design challenge in my life.
When writing about almost anything, I first think about what I want to say and start to type. Once I have my basic thoughts on paper, I then proceed to figure out how to tie everything together. This is very much the same way an architect attacks a new project.
In architectural design, one must first understand what is to be accomplished. For me, this is done by determining what is going to happen around and within the structure. It is important to always realize that a building has to function and flow efficiently. Then, the structure needs to appropriately relate to the locale and environment it will reside. I design my stories in much the same way.
First, I decide what the overall plot of my story will be. Then, I create the individual characters. These characters each will have their own story-line that will assist the reader in understanding the plot. But, I do not want any of my stories to be that simple. It is important to me to always keep my readers on the edge of their seat. So, to accomplish this, I have a series of sub-plots that have multiple twists-and-turns to keep the audience guessing. My attitude is simple. I am not “designing” a set of directions to efficiently take the reader through the assembly of a bookshelf. The job of a good story is to keep the reader not only intrigued but always guessing about what is yet to come.
And, that is the trick; how do I keep the reader enthralled and always desiring to read more.
I accomplish this by having multiple stories winding their way through my novels. Yet, like the individual rooms of a well-designed building flowing efficiently together, these sub-plots all lead my readers to a series of climaxes that ultimately bring the entire story to an exciting conclusion.
But, this is not the only end goal for me. What so intrigues my fiancée and makes her wonder just how my mind works is how every component in my stories always tie together. What seems to be an unnecessary side-plot or a random character can actually become an integral part of the story. Trivial events many times prove to be a turning point in the novel.
Yes, my mind is full of jumbled thoughts, sometimes confusing anecdotes, and ridiculous amounts a trivia. However, my fiancée need not worry. I take all the chaos rattling around inside of my head and thoroughly enjoy coalescing it all into a wonderful design that tells an exciting story. But, sometimes… I think my fiancée is right. If I did not write my stories, my head just might explode.