It was spring of 2007, and like thousands of Harry Potter fans I was anticipating the release of the Deathly Hallows that summer. I checked fan sites a few times a week looking for clues about what would happen as the series concluded. It struck me what an awesome feeling J.K. Rowling must have experienced, having so many people so absorbed by something she’d created. That was the moment when I decided to write a novel.
As a fan of young adult fiction, I decided I was going to write in that genre. Still needing a character and plot, I put my imagination to work and came up with some ideas. There were a few ideas I initially discarded because I didn’t think I could create an entire book around them. I kept on working at it, looking for some kind of spark to get things rolling.
Then one day on my morning walk, this song came up on my iPod. I hadn’t heard it in nearly 15 years, and it brought back some strong images.
Twilight by Electric Light Orchestra was the first song on their Time album, released in the summer of 1981. Ever since then, it was one of my favorite songs. The lyrics made me think of a young boy led astray by a beautiful girl; he was lied to and taken from his comfortable existence to an unfamiliar place beyond time. Inspired by the song, I started fleshing out the characters of the boy and girl.
Over the next year, I added more to the story. I recycled a few characters from the stories I’d rejected earlier, found roles for them in the new plot and created back stories around them. I was beginning to get excited about what I was doing, but knew there was a long way to go. Somewhere along the line, I became aware of the concept of the ‘hero’s journey‘ developed by the scholar Joseph Campbell and based on his analysis of the adventures of various heroes from cultures around the world. George Lucas based Star Wars on the hero’s journey; the Harry Potter series is also constructed along the same lines. I had already started building my plot using a similar framework, and when I became more knowledgeable about it I found ways to put my own twist on it.I felt like I was on the right track. My imagination was working overtime putting all of my plot elements and characters in place. Putting the actual words together on paper was still ahead of me though, and would prove to be a greater challenge than I imagined.
To be concluded in Part 3.
Click here for part 1 of this series.