So, it’s the holiday season and as winter pulls the frost up over your window, you might feel inclined to snuggle up with your pen, pad, or laptop (and a snack and a mug of eggnog of course), and start writing! Fiction writers, especially sci-fi and fantasy writers, need a lot of internal motivation to build their amazing worlds and characters. So let’s do it together with Colby’s Christmas Countdown! As you countdown to Christmas Day, here are 25 holiday writing tips to help you along in your fiction journey! You might want to grab a special writing notebook to keep all your exercises in one place, too. By the end, you’ll have months worth of material to launch you into writing your novel series! 🙂

Tip #5: Do Research and Brainstorm Some More!

So to recap, we’ve done a lot of brainstorming and letting our ideas run wild with the zaniest and coolest ideas. We’ve also soul searched for those themes, issues, and current events that are important to us. Then, we thought about the genres that we love to read, and selected the genre(s) to write in. And FINALLY, we’ve looked into our favorite genres and found ways to tweak them and bring something new to the table.

Now it’s time to bring those activities together! Maybe by doing these exercises, you’ve come up with an environmentalist detective story set in a fantasy world. Maybe you took the story even further by choosing to explore genetically-modified foods, animals, and products. Maybe genetic modification has expanded from food to alien races… you get my drift. So now, it’s time to do some research to fortify your brainstorming!

Do your research!

Activity of the (Holi)DAY: Make a list of all of the ideas that you want to explore in a cohesive story and that you need also to research. For example, my idea above would require researching: 1) exactly how genetically modified food  is produced, 2) the health and environmental concerns about GMOs (genetically modified organisms), 3) the ethical and moral concerns surrounding GMOs, 4) the major players (currently) in the GMO movement, 5) police procedure and how detectives do their work, and 6) maybe even the field of genetics itself. Light bulb moment: Perhaps you want to turn your detective into an amateur / cozy detective (i.e. Nancy Drew) by making them someone who was a former (and now washed-up) geneticist. Maybe he’s out to reclaim his former glory as a scientist and this gives him a dark ambition to suss out the dark side of the GMO industry that cast him out. (Character development!!) You get the drift. (This idea is totally up for grabs, by the way, lol!)

As you do actual research on your chosen issues, you WILL come up with new ideas and a solid story plot! Just make sure you TAKE NOTES! Any For Dummies or Idiot’s Guide book is a great way to start your research. You can branch out from there.

Note: take as long as you need to get really deep into this part of the process. You don’t have to do all of this in a day. In fact, research and note-taking is an ongoing part of the novel writing process!

a sneak peek into the Ciphers of Alchemy!

How I Did It: The moment I realized that I wanted to locate “The Books of Ezekiel” in the world of alchemy, gun running, and child soldiers, boy did my world open up! In particular, before I even GOT to look at gun running and children in war, I ended up discovering SO MUCH about the world of alchemy. That one concept itself fueled the story lines for at least six out of the ten books of the series! Something even as singular as the “Ciphers of Alchemy”, is enough to give greater depth to my series. And that was just me exploring one concept. Throw in other, more general issues that I wanted to follow- class struggle, warring civilizations, and not to mention individual story lines & character motivations (we’ll get to this soon!)- and even MORE… and suddenly I had a strong foundation for a long-running series, all against the fantastical backdrop of alchemy.