Sometimes people ask me where I come with ideas for my stories. My initial response is usually something like ‘I have no idea’, but after a little thought I’ve realized that is untrue.
I know where ideas come from, and since one just happened today, I can say a little about how and where it happened. They come from my overactive imagination.
While stopping for gas today (which is now last week because I’m posting this in advance, remember?), I saw a woman with what looked like smallpox. I’m sure that’s not what it was, but the idea that it *might* be is what jump started my mind.
Many scenarios started to evolve, none of them in the least bit realistic. I think I could have built a whole story just my reaction to seeing this woman and whatever medical condition it was that afflicted her. What if it was smallpox?
Admittedly, it wasn’t very nice of me to notice her condition and ponder so in depth about it. In my defense, I was discrete.
So I’ve told you a secret about how story ideas come to me. What about you, how do you come up with story ideas?
Honestly, I’m hoping someone shares something at least approaching the level of my rudeness (which maybe lies not in noticing, but in blogging about it).
Not everyone thinks it important, but place matters to me.
I suppose I would *be* happy wherever I am, but when choice is involved, certain things are important about the place I inhabit.
Certain species of animals and plants can thrive only in specific environments. Others thrive anywhere.
I am one of the former kinds.
So what kind of places work for me? What are my habitat requirements?
- It must be drenched in wilderness and spirit. Some places are filled with spirit, like New Orleans, for example. That’s a city I do love to visit, but it’s not where I want to live.
- There must also be a certain energy about the place. This is probably related to ‘spirit’, but I’m not sure. It’s just something I feel, and either a place has *it* or it doesn’t.
- A place where birds sing (contributed by J. Duffy. Since I’ve never stayed anywhere birds didn’t sing, I can’t say for sure whether it’s vital to me or not. Sure seems like it ought to be, though.)
- Moving water, variety to landscape, trees (but all that being said, there’s something special about the four corners area, and I think I could easily live there.)
- Four distinct seasons (contributed by Lua) I can’t believe I forgot this one, but it is one of my important needs. I like to be able to note the turning of the wheel of time and that’s so much easier when the season is evident at a glance.
I’ll think of more qualifiers later and add them to the list. What kinds of things are important to you, or are you, like a weed, able to thrive anywhere you’re planted?
More thoughts on how places make me feel. When I’m traveling near home, and if I have to cross the MS river bridge at Sunshine, heading south toward Houma, I feel a sense of dread, even, and it feels like I’m traveling to another dimension altogether. An unfriendly one (although the people down there are far, far from unfriendly, don’t get me wrong). It’s just how it *feels*.
I used to live in Thibodaux/Houma/Shreiver.
With a glimmer of inspiration this morning, a seed planted during yesterday’s hike to the bluff dweller’s site (see this post), an entire story line has entered the incubation phase. I’m excited already.
Now to finish up the current wip so I can get on to the next. I hope it’s not a bad thing that the subject is entirely different and that it won’t be a sequel to the current. Later there could be sequels, but this newly germinated idea will be ready to bring forth by the time I’m done with the current one, and I can already tell it won’t let me push it aside.
It was 28*F when I left for work this morning and the freezing fog, although beautiful on the trees, was difficult to navigate.
My body acclimated quickly to the warmer temps we’d been having. Now it’s hard to get warmed up.
Writing without a clear plot is like driving in fog. Although I know where I’m trying to go, it’s hard to see the turns and curves and the going is slow. During my slow drive out this morning, I thought a lot about where my story is going for the rest of this book and whether that will be the end, or if there is enough plot to carry it into more books following.
The main character has made transitions, is facing challenges and will not be the same person at the end of the book. The co-protagonist has not been developed so much yet, and needs some work.
Always good ideas on my way to work, though, and once in the office I usually take a little time to jot down my notes before they slip away into the ethers. That’s my destination at the moment…to write a brief description of the scene envisioned during the drive in this morning.
My MC has already undergone one major paradigm change, but is about to experience another. I wrote part of this scene a good while back, but at the time was unsure when or if I’d be able to use it on this particular book.
Now might be a good time to pull it out and tweak it a bit to see if it fits.
When I first started writing, much of what I wrote was out of sequence; just a bunch of scenes that were flooding my mind. I put it all down just to keep it from getting lost. The more I got into the book, the more linear my thinking became and the less often did scenes appear out of nowhere, asking to be written.
Almost all of what came at first, even though it was out of order, has been used. Apparently, my mind had the story straight and knew what was needed. Even if I didn’t use it in this story, I could have saved it for something else, or made a short story out of it.
In the beginning, it’s a leap of faith to just listen, write it all down, and know there is a reason.
Once outside, the odor of stale beer in the street drain brought me around. It had gotten dark and I could hear music playing, notes drifting around corners on the warm and humid breeze.
Met my target for tonight and I’m heading to bed now. Target for tomorrow is to reach 50K – my imaginary halfway point. I can see already, though, that much trimming will be needed before I’m done. I’m almost to the halfway point, but have so much farther to go in the story before the end is reached. For now, though, I’m just writing it through. When all the first words are down I can worry about what stays and what goes.