Last week was rough for me. I didn’t have it in me to post anything here on my blog. Nor did I write anything for my new project. My inspiration had been crushed by a series of unfortunate events. Yesterday, I decided to push through it and write the first page of my new novel even though I didn’t know where the story was going. I did, however, know where it should start. From this first page, I felt my inspiration blossom, and I wrote the entire first chapter, the seed, the inciting event.
I read a terrific blog post last week by paranormal author Jami Gold titled Where Do You Get Your Ideas?. In it she writes, “Story seeds often start small: a single line of dialogue, a single question, a single action. And somehow our brain takes that nugget of information and turns it into a whole story.” This is exactly how my last book started, with a question. I asked myself this question and somehow the answer came through within the text of a 90,000 word novel.
This time, it’s working out to be a bit different. This time, I’ve started with a single event that I know will spiral into chaos, turmoil, and tragedy. Still, I have no idea how I’m going to get there, but at least I’ve started, I’ve pushed through that wall that’s been hanging me up for awhile now.
Last time, after asking myself that question, I wrote a complete outline detailing every thought, every movement and action the major characters would take. That outline gave me immediate structure. With it in front of me, I could just write, kind of like having a GPS on your car’s dash allows you to just drive, without having to stop and ask for directions or pore over a map.
Well, I don’t have the luxury of a GPS this time around, but I think my muse left me a sparse trail of breadcrumbs before he took his leave. I can’t see much of a trail to follow, but at this point, I do see the next crumb. That’s something, at least. And I’ll take it. I’m hoping by the time I’ve found my way to the next crumb and written the second chapter, a new one will have appeared down the path, a new clue that tells me where I should turn.
In the mean time, I’m letting my seed marinate in the fertile soil that is my brain. The seed has finally sprouted. It’s slowly pushing its way through the dense earth toward the surface, towards enlightenment. I feel the heat of it pulling me upward, as well, out from under the crush.
My friend, Lisa Regan, wrote a hilarious post yesterday called Conversation With My Work In Progress where she describes the point-by-point argument she is having with her nearly finished novel and how she desperately needs its cooperation to see it completed. Do yourself a favor and check it out. It’ll brighten your day and put a smile on your face. And if, like me, you’re struggling with an idea or your current WIP, it’ll let you know that you are not alone.