Sunday, October 10, 2010

Anatomy of an Idea: Taming The Weald

This is a spoiler-free post, so y'all can read it without fear. Or do fear, because I'm an intrinsically scary person - as you will.

Obviously, since Taming The Weald started as an image prompt contest entry, my first inspiration was the picture provided by Gypsy Shadow Publishing. I knew the obvious assumption would be a fantasy story, so I decided to go in the opposite direction and do something science fiction - or rather, science fantasy.

That gave me the initial idea of having a single wild area on a space station. To further emphasize the contrast, the natives considered it a dark, dangerous place - but why wouldn't it be a potential source of food? I decided they had been eating synthetics for so long that the human stomach had started to adapt away from being able to process organic food. I ended up playing this down for the needs of the plot, but this was the first element in the theme of artificial versus natural that plays through the whole story.

I wanted an evocative name for this wild area. I didn't want to call it just The Forest or some such. I did a little browsing on (no, really) and came up with Weald. Instantly, I also had my title - which I prefer to have before I start, because my track record of being able to title afterwards is pretty abysmal. It's a Saxon word, so I briefly toyed with using Arthurian legend names for the characters, but none of the names I researched seemed to fit.

Back to the picture ... who is this? A daughter of the wild? I knew right away that I didn't want to write from her POV - for me, that would kill the mystique of the setup I had created. So who is the narrator, then? Keryn and her desire for a child came into my mind ... and I had all the basic building blocks in place.

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