When I made up my mind to write a fantasy novel, I asked myself the following questions: Will it take place in this world or another world? Will the characters in the book be one of the typical supernatural beings found in fantasy novels? The answer to the first question was both this world and another. The answer to the second question was no. Now all I had to do is define the other world, how to access the other world, and decide what type of fantasy being I would create. And the challenge began.
One night, as I lay in bed trying to come up with a world and a being I had not read about before, I stared at the wall and the shadows that were formed by the bright light of the moon. I was reminded of the shadows that used to dance across the room I slept in when I was a child, visiting my grandparents. They had a cabin on a lake and outside the dormer window, next to my bed, was a pine tree that would move in the wind and send scary shadowy fingers up and down the wall. On the dresser sat a small statue of an owl with glass eyes. To this day I do not know why my grandparents insisted on the owl being in the room. The light from the hall would send a shadow of the owl across the dresser where it collided with the shadows of the tree.
Anyway, the shadows got me thinking. I remembered be terrified, having convinced myself that there was something in the shadows of my cabin room. And that’s how the story started.
I will confess, I didn’t know where the story was going to end. I couldn’t think beyond the traditional, hero versus bad guy scenario found in almost every fantasy book out there. Instead, I just started writing. I needed to get to know the main character and how she came to be in this world and why she needed to go to the other.
I think I wrote the beginning of this story three times before a vision of the it could be started to unfold. That’s when I realized that I needed personas (brief descriptions of the characters personality, background, skills, etc.) for my characters and some idea of what this other world was like.
Each time I added a character, I turned to the back of my journal and gave them a page with their name at the top. I then proceeded to say who they were. For instance, Rhea Canton: adopted, graduating from college, parents are college professors, and she can see another world in the shadows cast by the moon. As the story unfolded, I added to this list when I needed to provide foundation for a decision she needed to make in a scene.
To give you more would spoil the story. I hope this gives you some ideas on how to bring your story to life.