Monday, May 10, 2010

The Hunt For The Next Idea (And For Romaine Lettuce)

Sssh!  I'm sneaking up on a new novel idea.  It's so skittish, and I don't want to spook it.  I won't look it directly in the eye or make any big, sudden movements.  A quick jot of a character's name here, a possible plot point scribbled there.

(I feel a bit like Larry when we hand feed him.  He likes to sneak up on the lettuce, stalk it from the side until he's ready to "pounce" on it.  Ah ha, take that romaine!)  

But my pile of scrap paper and post-its has grown and moved into a notebook.   A simple "What if...?" question has spawned generations of others:  "And then...?"  "What happens now?"  "What happens next?"  "Why?" 

The idea is now too big and unwieldy to outrun me and besides, it has grown used to my presence at its edges.  I still approach with caution because I've met a similar creature before.  Many, many times.  Just when you think you've got "it" - the best plot, the perfect characters, the big idea, the bestseller, etc. - it scampers away.

If only ideas were like Larry's romaine lettuce - wilted and hand fed to me.  Then maybe even I'd be able catch one of them. 


  1. Thanks for this post! I'm feeling sort of the same way. Except I feel as if the story is sneaking up on me. Maybe today is the day it will come up behind me and take my hand. I hope.

  2. Keep writing those notes and maybe it won't slip away! I got one of these ideas the other day. I'm almost afraid to write anything down for fear of jinxing it.

  3. See now, Clara, your idea is nice and gentle. If mine snuck up behind me, it would probably whack me on the head and yell "pay attention!"

    Good luck with your story. :)

  4. Isn't that fear of jinxing it something, Karen? I'll keep at my notes - now in a notebook and making their way into the computer - if you do the same with yours. :)