Wednesday, November 11, 2009


When I finally decided that I was done messing around and sat down to seriously write, I was amazed at how quickly the story came to me. I started with a concept: migraine headaches, and ran with it. I gave myself a year to finish the novel (I had no idea what to expect) and instead completed the first draft in three months. As I researched, revised, and queried, I needed something to keep the momentum going, so I started a sequel. And four months later, I managed to crank out another completed manuscript.
I didn't write again for about four months. I worked on revisions, focused on my blog and networked like crazy. I met great friends, critiqued, and read for pleasure.

By May an idea for a new story hit me. One sentence, a hook, and I was back in the game. I have to admit, that although this novel was my favorite, it was the hardest to write. The words didn't flow quite as easily and I struggled with the plot. I stewed... and wrote... and deleted... and stewed. But by July I'd finished, sent the manuscript off for critting revised, edited and revised some more and then I queried with renewed enthusiasm.

Then I hit a wall. Terror! Panic! Hyperventilation! My idea fount had run dry. I worried hard core about this. I wondered if I was a one-trick pony. Maybe I'd used all of my creative juices and had nothing left. Perhaps my brain was officially fried. My lack of inspiration convinced me that I couldn't hack it. I mean, nobody wants a writer who cranks out one book and says, "Well, that's it. I'm done. That's all I had."

However, inspiration can be found when you least expect it. I find that I work very well with others. It's like my brain fires on all cylinders when there's someone else around. And while I whined about my lack of inspiration, my crit partner and friend TALKED me through it. She regurgitated ideas that I'd run past her, and she helped me brainstorm by asking questions. It's funny, being led along works for me. Ask me a question, and my brain kicks in to high gear. I can't ask myself, for some reason that doesn't work. Maybe it's the challenge of answering someone's question that gets me going. All I know is that it works.

So here I am, shiny new words and a plot that's building by the day. Not a one trick pony, after all!

How do you come up with story ideas? Do they pop into your head while doing dishes? Are they based on real life? Do you brainstorm? Whine to friends? Let me know!


Tere Kirkland said...

Hoo, boy. Ideas are the easy part. I glean story premises from real life sometimes (which can be difficult if you write fantasy), or things that could have happened, or things I daydream about.

For me, getting the ideas are easy. Crafting them into a story people would want to read-- that's the hard part.

ElanaJ said...

I have general ideas that take months of stewing inside my own head before they can be written down. And even then, I always hit walls. Those sometimes take days or weeks to come down.

Congrats on all your breakthroughs!

Anna C. Morrison said...

Congrats on your productivity! I have several projects going on at the same time I have everything else in life to deal with, and primarily, the ideas come to me in dreams or daydreams or random thoughts that pop into my head and won't calm down or shut up until I plop them onto a Word document. But that's just me.