Wednesday, December 23, 2009

So You Think You're a Writer?

I've mentioned before that I struggle to come up with story ideas. Most of my writer friends talk about having entire notebooks full of ideas and they often struggle with choosing one thing to focus on. Not me.

Don't get me wrong, my mind is always going and a day doesn't go by without me making up a story about something or someone I encounter, but these ideas are just fleeting things... nothing worthy of an entire novel. Or even short story.

The week before I flew home (so two weeks ago? I've lost track) I came up with an idea for my next novel. I wrote the first couple paragraphs, I did a rough timeline since it covers almost fifty years, then I hopped on a plane excited to start writing.

Then I got tired.

Then I arrived in Chicago, then Michigan, and then I chatted with my aunt the writer and she encouraged me to think more about YA. And think I did.

During one of my numerous drives to the hospital last week, the premise for a YA novel surfaced. I say premise because I still have no idea what the actual story will be -- I only have the premise. If you aren't familiar with the concept, the dictionary defines premise as "a proposition supporting or helping to support a conclusion." Yeah.

Since I don't want to talk about my idea just yet, an example of premise would be a young boy wizard goes to a school for wizards. The story is what happens. That's the part I still need.

Nonetheless, this new character has been in my head (not talking much just yet) and during a 5am check on my grandmother, my character spit out a prologue and an opening paragraph. I already have blank spaces because I need to define the thing that makes up the premise, and I'm excited to get online and do some research.

I was about to do just that when suddenly I remembered I'm supposed to be doing research for my other idea. Whoops. So now I know how the rest of you feel.

17 comments:

WendyCinNYC said...

Ooh,, good luck with your idea. I'm not one who has a notebook full of ideas, either. They can come when I think about them, but I have to grab one and run with it. Just like you're doing.

gypsyscarlett said...

I usually have tons of ideas and characters fighting for my attention. I hate to jinx myself, but thus far, the characters of my latest WIP are front and center. That's such a relief for a change!

Allen said...

The research stage is when most of my ideas fall apart. I don't find the character traits, or the realism i am looking for and off I go on another research adventure.

But, isn't that part of the fun?

awp

Janna Qualman said...

Ooh, exciting! Keep at it. I agree you're suited to YA, and maybe you'll find yourself comfortable there! Good luck, melanie.

Adam said...

Here, have a good luck poke.

*poke*

:D


Adam

Erica said...

Yay! New ideas are the best. And YA - cool. Welcome to the club :o) Can't wait to see it come to fruition! Merry Christmas :o)

Natasha Bennett said...

I have about 3 novella projects, 5 short stories ideas, and one book sequel that needs to be made. All of these projects are half done and I keep switching back and forth (sigh)

Nadine said...

Yay, this is awesome!! I'm so excited for you!! Can't wait to hear more about it!

JLC said...

Just like Mellisa Gilbert said... blame it on the muse. Sometimes that muse takes a vacation and other times she pops into your life and has a ton of ideas. When the muse is around, jot it all down in a notebook and save it for those times she is on vacation. :D I'll be looking forward to reading more about your new idea!!

Natasha Fondren said...

Awesome, Melanie! I think you'd rock at YA. You just... have the touch for making it real and deep, at least for the characters that age.

I love that distinction. I hate when I get a really awesome premise I love, but no story forthcoming. I get some of the coolest premises, I swear.

Good luck! And Happy Holidays!

Robin said...

I'm a two idea at a time max sort of girl. I can't relate to the notebook full of ideas. It would be cool, but I wouldn't know where to start!

I can totally see you writing YA. Plus, there's such a wonderful market out there now. My kids have a weird thing about their books - they only want to read books that will be a series. They hate books that stand alone. I don't know what this means, other than Harry Potter warped their brains.

Lisa Marie Miles said...

I'm one of the ones that has a shoebox (literally) filled with ideas. But I'd rather be the other way around. I have so many projects going at once, I can't decide which to work on. It drives me crazy!

Melanie Avila said...

Wendy, I'm so glad to hear I'm not alone with the lack of ideas.

Gypsy, good luck staying forcused. This is the first time I've considered working on two pieces at once, but I haven't actually started either, so we'll see.

Allen, research is not my strong suit. I need to do that.

Thanks Janna!

And I guess, thanks Adam. :P

Erica, I forgot your wip is YA. Very cool!

Hi Natasha! I don't think I could handle that many wips at once. I can do a flash piece and a novel, but that's about it.

Nadine, I SWEAR I will tell you about it soon. :)

*waves at Jen* My notebook is getting fuller.

Thanks Natasha. I'm confident I'll be able to come up with a story ,I just want to make sure it's the PERFECT one.

Robin, that's funny about the series. I never thought about reading exclusively that way, although a lot of the books I borrow from my mom are ongoing series, so I've certainly read my share.

Lisa, a shoebox? Yikes! That would scare me.

shadowferret said...

You and me both, Hoo. I get depressed when others talk about all their ideas and the notebooks filled, too, while I sit and struggled to come up with ideas. Oh, I guess they can be called ideas, but mostly its a scene or a conversation between a couple characters. NEVER is it a full-blown novel synopsis. NEVER have I gone, "What a great idea for a novel!" I'm usually, "What the heck am I supposed to do with this measly thought?"

So generally, I start with that scene or convo and hope that I can stretch it into something more sizable and hope more scenes pop into my head to pile onto the first one.

So good luck. Have fun.

Melanie Avila said...

Ferret, I'm glad you go through the same thing. It's so frustrating.

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