Photo by Ewa Romanowicz
I started writing a number of stories in the past but Sābanto is special, not only because it is the first book I am planning to publish but because it is the first story that I worked on ‘backwards’. I envisioned the end first, before I started to write the beginning. This approach worked well for me because I had a certain goal to achieve. Rather than trying to figure out how the story would end, I had to work out how to get there.
The idea came to me as a short story in a very futuristic society. As I was reviewing and expanding the short story, I realized that the background of how Sābanto was created and how it evolved could be very interesting. I thought that the process of how our society got into that state needed to be defined more.
My first step was to explain what Sābanto is and what it stands for. That is how Book 1 “The Crimson River” came to life. It was clear that the book would concentrate on the poor, so I decided to start from the ground up, the poorest of the poor. The base had been established.
As a second step, I needed a character in the story who would push things forward and introduce the reader to Sābanto. That is how Oliver, the war veteran was born.
The third step was to establish a motive. I knew what the final goal of the book was, but Oliver needed to have an internal or external push to get there. In a society where people were dying of cold and hunger, there had to be some contrast and that is how Oliver was entrusted with a fortune.
And of course we need to have a conflict - something or someone in Oliver’s path that would lead to trouble. Someone who would tell him: “I know you from somewhere!”
After giving Oliver a background story and building the initial world around him, I let him loose.
Sābanto is definitely a character driven story. I did not have a clear idea how I wanted the book to proceed, so I let the characters show me the path. If the path was going sideways, I tweaked the characters. I also had to explore multiple paths for the same characters to see which one would make the story more interesting and believable but still continue the general path towards Sābanto.