We have an excellent blog post from Tamsin Mori about her Weather Weaver Trilogy and writing backwards!
How do you write a story? One word in front of the other? If only stories arrived like that – neatly formed, one idea leading inevitably to the next. I do know authors who plot in great detail before they ever put pen to page, but for me that’s not how stories evolve. Instead, they arrive piecemeal – in moments of inspiration and flashes of understanding. Sometimes, whole chapters grow out of scribbled poems or scraps of free writing.
When I finished my first draft of The Weather Weaver, I had something akin to a disassembled patchwork quilt – a multitude of brightly coloured scenes and scraps and chapters. Some of them clearly belonged together, but my favourite scenes, the earliest ones I’d written, didn’t fit into the plot at all – they belonged much later. Three books later, it turned out…
Writing is a very individual pursuit and I’ve gradually learnt that the only way to write, is the way that works for you. I had all the pieces of a story that spanned three books and I’dwritten it backwards. I’m not sure what that says about how my brain works!
One of my earliest childhood memories is of being taken out on my grandfather’s small sailing boat, Peerie Norrie. I admired his quiet seamanship, but it wasn’t something I shared. I was prone to lurching with each passing wave, standing in the wrong spot at the wrong moment, or battling seasickness. Many of my early years on boats were spentleaning over the side, staring into the depths, wondering what was down there.
No surprise then, that the first character to appear fully-formed in my mind, was the sea witch. Terrifying, enigmatic, she’s emblematic of the sea’s fierce power and its changeable moods.
When you’re writing a book, the characters become like friends – they nudge you at inconvenient moments, demanding your attention, whispering their secrets. In the office, at the supermarket, while cooking the supper, the Haken haunted me with riddles, tugged at my imagination. Why would someone become a sea witch? Fury, maybe? How much would you have to hate people to choose endless cold blue over a friendly fireside or a warm bed? Perhaps she simply wanted the freedom? If you could breathe underwater, swimming might feel like flying.
Every time I sat down to write the scraps she’d shared withme, the words flew and the scenes grew, but few of them fitted naturally into The Weather Weaver. As Stella met her cloud and began to learn the magic of weather weaving, the Haken lurked at the edges – a menacing presence, full of rage and need, but largely unknown to Stella.
In the second Weather Weaver book, A Gathering Storm, the sea witch didn’t appear on the page at all. Instead, Stella gradually learnt more about her: who she had been before; why she chose the sea. Stella began to wonder if the Haken was really so different to her? Faced with losing Nimbus, would she have made the same choices?
And now Winter’s Keep is here. In some ways, the Haken is like Stella’s shadow self – their paths so similar, but their choices very different. The story has come full circle and the sea witch’s tale is written. It’s a good thing – I don’t think she would have left me alone if her story had remained untold.
The Weather Weaver Trilogy is published by UCLan Publishing and is available now.
Views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Federation.