Monday, April 9, 2012

The Spark that Starts The World on FIRE

What is it that turns an idea into a novel?

Well, besides a lot of time, typing, editing…

As writers we have lots of ideas. Sometimes too many.

Focus writer, focus!

What is it that makes one idea stand out enough to take it from an idea into an entire world of its own?

Well, for me it starts with an opening scene. One image that stops me in my tracks and makes me say, I have to remember this, there’s a story here.

Of course that usually happens when I’m in the midst of writing another story or editing another story, or both. So that idea has to sit, and thank goodness it does. This is the testing period. Sure, that idea is fun or interesting, maybe compelling and unusual, but can it capture me? I know an opening scene has something if a month or two later I’m still thinking about it. If I am, then maybe others will as well.

There has to be more though. An opening scene is great. It can make or break a story, but still, it’s only a glimpse, a beginning. In order to get from that scene to THE END, there has to be something else. For me, that something is usually a character. Once I have the scene that sets the stage it’s the characters which begin to come to life inside my head. I hear their conversations, I see their interactions. They develop voices and their voices won’t stop talking.

No, their voices don’t talk to me. That would be schizophrenia, not writing inspiration. Slight, yet important difference.

I get to know them. Their moods, flaws, strengths and characteristics emerge and I as the writer fall in love. This character has a story. It has a story that exists before that scene and one that goes on long after THE END. Their story becomes important to me when I become connected to them. I have to tell their story, because they told it to me.

So for me I would say the spark which turns every one out of ten opening scenes into a fully completed story are the characters themselves. Because you can have a wonderful concept, but without personal connection the story and world will fall flat.

Writers, what is it for you that turns an idea into a whole world of its own?

Readers, what is it that takes an opening scene and makes you want to discover that new world?

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