[eta: as soon as I posted this I read my cousin Jenna's blog and she talks about her many ideas. I'm so jealous!]
Since I started writing in the summer of '07 I've had a total of three ideas for books, two of which I wrote. The third is an idea based on what could have been my life if we never moved here, Ibis stayed illegal, and was one day deported, but I don't want to be that writer. The one who has one topic and keeps rehashing it over and over. What intrigued me about it was the idea of a family who on the surface appeared just like everyone else, but had a little secret. When that secret emerges, the community turns on them, and they are forced to not only deal with the trauma of the husband/father being deported but also being alienated from their friends. Everything about their lives has changed.
But I don't want to write that story.
Yesterday I forced myself to sit down with a book called Telling True Stories. It's a collaborative piece with 2-3 page articles advising writers how to do everything from interview subjects, to turning your notes into stories, to writing a narrative non-fiction book. The writers use a lot of specific examples so with each one, I wrote down a short paragraph of whatever popped into my head. Once I got my brain going, the ideas came a little faster. I had two pages of notes when I suddenly remembered a news piece I read a couple weeks ago. Here's an excerpt:
A man who woke to the screams of his daughter found a naked intruder in his home. He subdued the intruder after a prolonged struggle, while his wife called police. When the police arrived and the father released the invader, he was unresponsive.
The intruder, wearing only a mask and latex gloves, carried rope, a knife, condoms, and a gag into the house with him. When the mask was pulled off, both the father and the daughter recognized the man immediately.
The home is owned by the invader's uncle and he was an acquaintance of the family he victimized. The case will be sent to the county prosecutor's office but it is unlikely that charges will be filed.
That story stuck with me since I first read it, and I realized I could take it one step further - what if it wasn't just an acquaintance, but a close friend of the family and next door neighbor? Think of the ramifications of one man killing another in defense of his daughter, and how that affects both families. Also, this story has all the social alienation I was drawn to with my deportation story.
So, this is it. I'm very excited and can't wait to get started. I have under forty pages left to edit on my novel, then I can get working!