Usually, unless I’m writing strict realism, I need to know some things about the world which my story is going to inhabit before I can begin to write. I don’t need to know everything about the world–I’ve tried writing pages and pages about a world before, and I’ve not gotten past page one on that project–just what aspects of the world will drive my characters.
When I conceived of the pillar of locks which has become the, er, pillar upon which this project stands, I knew that it contained some immense power which would be much sought after, but I didn’t for the longest time know what that power would be. This was a major sticking-point for a while, until it came to me that I didn’t have to invent brand new mythology when there already existed perfectly good myths which I could borrow and twist to my own purposes.
I was raised with d’Aulaires’ Norse Gods and Giants, so Norse mythology seeped into my consciousness from an early age. It was natural, therefore, for aspects of Norse mythology and cosmology to spring to my mind when thinking about where I might borrow from.
From there, it was just a short jump to Yggdrasil, the world tree. At the foot of the world tree, the Norns spin the threads of all life, weaving the fates of men and gods. What could be more sought after than control over the fate of all the world?
Following my inclination towards Norse mythology also informed the current title of the project, Red, a reference to Lief Erikson’s father, Erik the Red. That also led my mind down some paths which I have since abandoned, but at this point, the title has stuck in my mind quite firmly (a good title is hard to come by in my experience as a writer), and has in some ways become apt again, though in different ways.
With some firm background in mind, my next step is to work on characters, who are, after all, the driving force behind good stories.