My story collection, Time Immortal:Tales of Marcus, The Blind Vampire, gets five stars at Barnes and Noble.com http://bit.ly/tCJ0wW
I'm still on my island. I've realized that I will always enjoy expressing myself with words. Okay, a guest is allowed. I look across the sand dunes, the trees to my back. The air is still sweet, only the sound of the ocean in my ears. That sound is its own kind of music. My guest is in the distance. Ah, one of my characters. Male or female? Young or old? This person is waving at me, but doesn't immediately approach.
The soundtrack of words is so personal at first, I just keep it in my head for a while, letting a few impressions form. A character shows up first, with a story to tell, but it's not in focus yet. I'll take it to bed with me, to my island, or break time at work. What does this character want to say? If she's a guest at the island, and if she's ready, she will come in as clear as a song. That song is her life, her opinions, and actions. All I need to do is start writing. I love it when that happens. Then more characters show up and I start seeing a plot. Before I know it, I've got that new story or novel.
I prefer to write the fantastic stuff, and the best way to write about that alien or vampire is to provide as much detail as possible. Description, lots of it, is the key. A vampire can always be seductive or beautiful, but what else? You can make new rules or stick to the old. Maybe that vampire can walk around in the daylight or drink wine. The writer will have some explaining to do, but that's where inspiration can be found. But don't underestimate the reader. If your reader is a big vampire fan, don't bore them. This person may have read tons of vampire fiction, along with movies and TV shows. This is where description comes in, along with all of your imagination and skill. Give that vampire fan a thrill, everything they want with something new thrown in. Because you are not just the writer, you are the reader, the very first reader, of your new work. Objectivity is almost impossible at first; I have to put the completed draft aside for almost two months before I can see it with a more critical eye. Put it aside for a year, if you can. I know I can't, but I respect that kind of self-control.
I'm still on the island, my guest is coming closer. When I see his face, I start to hear the story in his eyes. Telepathy. The best stories are told this way. :)
One of the challenges of writing fiction, especially science fiction, fantasy, or horror, is in the process of creating fantastic characters and plots that have little basis in reality, but making it all seem real on the page. Those exotic aliens who are trying to repair their spacecraft so they can go home or the ancient vampire telling his life story as well as the young wizard who goes on an enchanted journey have to ring true, an authentic music has to come from the writing. Without it, bland and unoriginal. So the writer's job is to find that melody, a soundtrack of words, to create their fantastic world.
I seem to get there slow. I try to quiet my mind, all of that anxious noise needs to go. To my island; yes, I like it here. This place is peaceful, none of that Lost stuff; no smoke monster or polar bears. I sit on the sand, dry and warm above the rushing of the waves. Sweet flowers. Relaxing. No bills, no job, no illness. If you're a worrier like I am, this takes some effort, but I just try to stay on the sand. This is my island, no one else is allowed for now. I can play in the sand, feel it between my fingers and toes. Remember how fun the beach was as a child? The warmth feels good. I never have to go back to work(I can fantasize, okay?)or think about my credit card bill. I am relaxed and content. If I could spend the rest of my life on this island, with no worries, what would I write about? Would I write at all? Is the pressure off? I never can explain easily why I write, only that I've been writing my little stories since the age of nine. I thought it was fun. I still do, but I also understand the work aspect of it. I know when it starts feeling like a job, but I plow through to get to another fun part. Starting and finishing the plowing is a kind of self-discipline, and it feels hard and lonely, like digging a grave by yourself. I'm tempted to take a nap, but the words don't write themselves, so I keep on. I get in The Zone. Every creative person has a Zone, and its a beautiful, exhilarating place. You're kicking ass and taking names. The little engine that could write. Wow! You wrote that much? Good for you!