Wednesday, May 4, 2011

On the Writing of: Wyrm Cult

Ideas are everywhere.

Sometimes a trigger creates an idea and then drifts into the background, shy like a teenager at his first dance. That happened with Wyrm Cult. I was reading The Economist's "Vox populi or hoi polloi?" article on direct democracy and ran across the word ochlocracy or mob rule [1]. This intrigued me and I immediately realized I wanted to envision a world ruled by the mob.

I initially considered what happens with mob rule midwifed by technology. However, I'd written a brief scene on something similar based on a Write Anything, Friday Challenge prompt, and needed something fresh. Therefore, I researched ochlocracy and came across a reference to the Salem witch trials. This created a core (a cult). I knew what I wanted to write about, but now I had to find a story.

I needed a character. I knew I was going to have a cult leader who was going to feed the mob; but I needed someone who would stand up to that person. Someone, who didn't understand people very well. That led me to Ned and I liked the idea of a man somewhat introverted yet someone regularly facing complex problems and finding solutions to them quickly.

Of course, always interesting to me was the way the story twisted as I got it on paper. I'm more of a planner, I often know the arc of the story and many of the scenes. However, here, the arc I knew was for both of them to be expelled into the worm's gullet. Ned twisted things around, refusing to die.

Do your stories twist and refuse to go where you planned? Or am I the only one who's crazy?

[1] Swedish note: the Swedish word for bullying is mobbar, which makes me think of a mob and I am fascinated by the way those two words connect.


  1. Oh they twist and turn despite my best intentions. I think that's one of the joys of writing - that feeling of surprise at a new development.

  2. What I love is the "Wow, I can't believe how well that fits. It's almost as if I planned it." Of course, it usually comes with the "Now time to revise Scene Y earlier in the story to make this feel natural. ;)

  3. The only time I managed to struggle through and finish a whole book I realised a character who was supposed to appear for one chapter, early on, was still with me at the end. He refused to go away... ;)

    I don't find it happens so much with flash (although maybe that's because I often don't know the end until I get there...), but definitely with longer pieces.

    And I'm sure I remember a John Fowles essay about one of the characters in The French Lieutenant's Wife refusing to do what she was supposed to. =D

  4. @John, conniving little character. Interesting on the Flash; I kind of treat the flash like a scene goal and so I think about where I want to go before I get started. I may have to see what happens when I don't plan.