Posted on August 4, 2008 by Flames
So far our horror design essays have featured creators of horror role-playing games talking about the development of new projects and the systems that went into those projects. We have more horror game design essays on the way over the next few weeks as well as other creators.
Today we are going to feature our first horror novel essay. Author A.W. Gryphon tells us about her novel, Blood Moon, as well as the challenges that went into writing that elusive first page.
Witchcraft, Magick, and Tackling The Unknown – Writing Page One
From A.W. Gryphon, Author of Blood Moon.
Witches, magick and the threat and excitement of the unknown are things that have fascinated me for as long as I can remember… and page one as a writer has always been my greatest horror.
I’ve always been a storyteller and a great fan of legends and lore. As a teenager, I watched every witch movie and read every book that I could get my hands on, but was endlessly frustrated at the lack of material out there. That being said, when I decided I was going to write for a living, I quite naturally settled on the idea that my debut story would be about a witch.
First I made the decision… then I really thought about it. My interest in witchcraft and those involved in that realm had run so deep and so long that the moment after I decided to write a witch story, I decided to wait. The idea was bigger than I was. Page one was a daunting task and I didn’t want to force it. I’d wait until the, “right moment” and when that would be, I had no idea. I’m a big believer in listing to my intuition, going with my gut and allowing myself to wait for an idea to take me over and let me know when it’s time to start working… so that’s exactly what I did.
A handful of screenplays, short stories and other odds and ins, and quite a few years later I found myself faced with the day. It was time to write Blood Moon and I had no idea what it was going to be or where I was going to start. All that I knew is that it was going to be a story about a witch and it wouldn’t be told with the typical devices we see in witch stories. It would be written from an approach that embraced the history of the craft and the beliefs of our practicing pagan ancestors and the modern day witch.
I went to my collection of materials on witchcraft and the surrounding beliefs and history, and I dove in. A few months later I was faced with my first challenge, which was putting the research down. I had immersed myself so deep within the subject that I wasn’t seeing very clearly. I realized then, had things gone a different way in my life, I might have been a librarian and read all day every day.
Once I stepped out of the comfortable fog of my research, I saw the story and my main character, Amelia, was born. After she came to me I started brain storming about the many ideas that would be delivered through her. Amelia would be wise, strong, endlessly romantic, painfully human, and the most powerful witch the world had ever known.
After a lifetime of awe and months of notes and study, I had a plan. I also had a very blank sheet of paper staring back at me.
I had come to my next, and most difficult, challenge, page one. I carried around a legal pad for days trying to wrap my head around how to start. I had done the research, I had bits and pieces written, I knew the characters, but when it came to page one, I was horrified.
Finally, at 5am on a Tuesday morning, page one woke me up and pulled me out of bed. I have to say that was one of the best days of my life. The flood gate was open and I couldn’t stop. I wrote until my fingers hurt. I wrote in a frenzy of spurts for months until I arrived at the end of the story, full of passion and love for the most amazing and intense woman and witch that I could fathom… and then I started the processes of releasing her on the world.
Blood Moon has just hit book store shelves and all I can think about is sitting down with my pencil and my legal pad to find out where the most powerful witch in the modern world will take me next. The Witches Moon Series is just getting started. Blood Moon is out, the second book is down on paper, and I am currently working on book three. Again, I’ve done the research. I’ve got the notes. I know how it’s going to end, and I’m staring at a blank page one.
About A. W. Gryphon
A.W. Gryphon is a novelist and screenwriter. Blood Moon is the first book in her Witches’ Moon Series. Please visit www.awgryphon.com for more information.