So, funny story – I never meant to write Blood Runner at all. Surprised? This year (2019), as I’m now working to turn it into a series (say what?!), I was forced to analyse the story motivation and how the story even came about. Meant to be a stand-alone originally, getting a handle on all the unplanned threads I could pick up was paramount. In writing that single story, though, I created an entire universe to play in, so the possibilities were endless. And I’m definitely not done with Kurshram yet.
Where did Blood Runner come from?
It started at the library poring over books on the fertile crescent and antediluvian mythology for another story. At that time, I also flirted with the idea of bringing my writing out the shadows after a couple decades of working to make other writers look good. Finally. Thinking ahead to supporting the kids as a novelist only, I tested advice on being more prolific.
Mostly? I wanted to be sure I could, in fact, generate consistent income. Kids aren’t cheap. I wrote all kinds of pieces in practice using a variety of “tricks” meant to help with continuous productivity, building on what I learned as a commercial copywriter. Not all of them worked for me, but you gotta try stuff.
It was scary thinking about having no outside income, but exciting, too. It was the next step beyond freelancing. Me being me, I never do anything without analysing the holy shit out of it first, though, so I stole time practicing fast writing techniques from my freelance time and worked an outside job while being a single parent. I needed to get my ducks in a row and plan ahead to make it work and it would take time.
And then I was derailed.
In the middle of strategising, I learned I had a growing cataract in my right eye. They said it was possible to remove it, though would make me fully blind in that eye. What a punch in the gut. Oh, and I was losing vision in the other eye. Lovely.
Struggling with how to keep doing the only thing that made me feel human and fed my soul, I stressed over how it would impact my ability to support my household. And the distraction really sucked my creativity, Through it? I remember feeling wholly unsettled, like falling. Nothing would be the same and I had to change how I did everything. I made sure I took the kids out even more than I had in the past, too. Not only to spend more time with them, but for myself. To see as many things as I could while I still could. Colours were already washing-out and I had a big void in my field of vision.
I felt I was on a timer, counting down seconds to the world going dark.
Eventually? I sucked it up and learned to deal after some denial and stamping my feet.
After most of a year, I calmed down
I focused on the story I did the original research for and combined that with one of the fast writing tricks. And couldn’t write it. Normally, I have an entire story plotted out in my head before I write anything and this trick involved using a couple of random nouns and a verb to write your first paragraph. It’s supposed to get you over the hump of the dreaded first paragraph when you don’t have an idea. But I already had an idea and thought the two techniques cancelled each other out. I gave that a think and was oddly compelled to focus on more research. This time, into the really early mythology of Sumer. I couldn’t leave it alone. As sometimes happens, I must have picked up on something my brain was working on in the background and needed more detail.
Then I tried again.
This time, I decided to try the same fast writing trick without thinking about any of the info I had in my head. No direction, no notes, no plan. Wholly foreign to me, I didn’t think it would work. I spun the wheel and got two nouns and a verb.
And wrote not only the first paragraph, but first chapter of Blood Runner, in under an hour.
Aside from being weirdly unsettling having no story motivation to work off, for whatever reason, I wrote it in the first person. Something else I never do. Hey, I’m an introvert and don’t like being in the centre of anything. I freaked myself out that it came out so easily.
By that point, I knew the whole story, so was back to having a mental outline and things settled down again. But somewhere in my head? I know now all that research mashed together with the crap going on in my life and became the story motivation. I belted out the first five chapters and only at that point stepped back to see what I had.
It was surprisingly cohesive.
Then I took another look at the mythology and stitched the myth together that was the premise for the story. I finished the rest in crazy fast time. Weeks.
Through the first book, once I got into it, the driving motivation for the whole thousands-of-years-long tale morphed into its own separate engine driving character motivations, of course. But that original unsettledness, being on a timer, and simmering anger underneath Kurshram’s character? Yeah… While I didn’t know it at the time, that was all me, pissed-off about losing my vision. Holy story motivation, Batman.
So, fair question – now several years past that simmering anger, will that affect Kurshram’s character in new stories? Naw. He does evolve quite a lot over the course of the first story. And since he’s apparently more of me than I might care to admit, it’s not difficult to keep his personality intact even while it evolves. I’m pretty certain fans of the first book will accept him in his current and future evolving forms. Fingers crossed. You can let me know.
Interested in Book 2 of the Blood Runner series? See my homepage for announcements about the release of Sons of Enki, Book 2 in the series.