Every writer will tell you a different story. No, I’m not making some grand philosophical point, I’m telling you that each writer will literally inform you, should you be so bold as to ask, of the beginning of their conception of a novel that is entirely different from any other writer. Often, the same writer will tell you a different tale about how one story’s birth differs from the next, I know I do.
I touched on this idea briefly in my post “The Answer“. Today, I want to talk to you about my newest darling, brainchild, story-pet, or whatever cutesy name I come up with next. It’s untitled, which is going to make this awkward. Let’s call him Bill. The story’s name is Bill for the rest of this post.
Everyone confused, yet? No. How about amused? Okay. Good.
It’s difficult to say exactly when the floating, mercurial, unpredictable mass of notions actually sat down and said, “Hi, I’m Bill.” But he’s been hanging around for a few weeks. Was it before or after I realized Bill was a series? Ehhhh…. after. Weirdly, enough.
It started with two different ideas which got together in my head. One for a character with amnesia, one for a magic system sillier than any other I’ve invented to date. Plot? Hahahahahaha! *coughs* NO PLOT. The plot came along after a few more characters, locations, and events joined the party.
I wanted a protagonist with a warrior spirit, one who could be villainous, and I wanted (as per usual in my stories) a female character who bucked a few of the current writing trends out there. Then I got sucked into the beautiful world of writing prompts on Pinterest, and the emaciated form of Bill filled into something with a bit more oomph.
Then I realized that all the events I wanted to include weren’t going to occur in a single beginning-middle-end scenario. Series, it will be.
I love it when a story idea lurks. I’m one of those weirdos who actually finishes a story before she starts in on the next one. This means I have several finished novels under my belt. It also means I have over twenty-five ideas for fully fledged novels.
But Bill is refusing to sit on his shelf like a good, quiet, little story. Oh, no. When I ought to be editing my latest chapter or brainstorming for my next chapter, Bill pipes up with something clever, and, as if that weren’t bad enough – the clever something is usually for a part of the story that occurs later on in the series rather than the NaNo novel itself!
I’ve never been, but I can assume it’s something a little like falling in love – when a new story idea takes hold and refuses to let go. Bill caught my eye, flirted with me, made me feel special, and he keeps me preoccupied when I should be thinking of other things. Bill is extraordinary. I find myself telling people about (you can go ahead and read that as “gushing over”) Bill.
But isn’t that our job as writers? To fall in love with our stories so passionately and beautifully that we convince readers to fall in love, too? Kisses are shared in prose so beautiful it makes your eyes hurt. Caresses are impeccable dialogue. The romance of the relationship is built on pillars of plot and arcs of characters.
The next time a story makes your heart skip a beat – the next time you have to close the book and just breathe until you can start reading again – the next time you giggle in delight over the pages of your paperback… you might just be falling for someone who an author loved so much they had to write them into existence. Someone like Bill.