First, I researched the market. Survivalist stories are big right now, like the Hunger Games trilogy. So of course, my first task was to come up with a cool title. Something that captured the essence of The Hunger Games without blatantly plagiarizing it. The Most Dangerous Game? The Lottery? No, ripping off those stories would be too obvious, and the general public would never stand for it. The Most Dangerous Hungry Lottery? Bingo! I had a title!
Next, my novel (which I now called TMDHL for short) needed an idea. Clearly, I needed a strong central female character. I decided to make her a brunette with freckles and call her Kate. She would wash up on an island, some sort of creepy, remote island, not on any map, with monsters and polar bears and such. She needed a romantic love interest - a love triangle, really! - so I decided to have a couple of guys crash on the island, too. Let's call them Jack and Sawyer.
Wait - this all sounded a little familiar. Uh-oh! Looks like something similar had already been done! It was an easy fix, though. Kate's love triangle would now consist of Jake and Sailor. Problem solved.
Now, when writing a story, you often have to stop in your tracks to do a little research on Google. Now, I had invested six years of my life in Lost, and I still didn't know what the heck it was all about, so I turned to the internet for an explanation. Six hours later, I still didn't get it. But it did remind me of how totally hot the guy who played Sawyer was. This called for even more research, in which I discovered that he's married. Things were not going well at all.
Back to the novel. The basics of every story go like this: character, conflict, crisis, change. My characters: Kate, Jake, and Sailor. The conflict: they're stuck on a desert island with just the three of them, some polar bears, and the occasional random wild boar. Kate quickly learns how to hunt to keep them all alive. The crisis: Kate's getting a little tired of supplying all the pork chops while Jake and Sailor hang out on the beach, getting nice tans. Time to get off this island! The change: Kate builds a raft and sails off with her new boyfriend, Wilson.
Done. That wasn't so hard, right? It took longer than I thought, though, because I spent several days playing Deer Hunter: Reloaded trying to get a feel for what it was actually like to hunt wild boar. Time well spent, I feel.
There's nothing quite like the feeling you get when you've poured your heart and soul into a story and you've finally completed it. I felt like shouting "Look what I've created!" and dancing around a fire. Until I realized that I'm not nearly done, not yet. Next up is editing, making sure I didn't accidentally call Sailor "Sawyer" anywhere in the manuscript, sending it out to beta readers, reading their thoughts and suggestions, querying agents, and then waiting for TMDHL to be sold to a publishing house, go through a million rewrites and more edits, and then sell a few copies.
I'll get to that ... soon. First, I want to check Netflix to see if Lost is on streaming. I'll worry about all that other stuff later.
Writing: not the best craft for procrastinators.