She wants me to tell her story. I don’t even know her name or much else about her though…well, not yet. There I was, thinking of Vegas, and up she popped in a single scene. And now I can’t seem to drop her.
Ideas are dangerous. On one hand, it pays to listen to your gut instinct on whether an idea is good. Sometimes you just know, the moment your brain clicks into place as if a puzzle has been solved. “Yep, that’s it! That’s the one.” You can almost feel some entity with life’s project plan looking over your shoulder confirming that this idea was the one that you were meant to do. On the other hand, the wrong idea can lead you down the proverbial path, into the lost woods where you may never come out.
In short, know when you’ve got a winner and know when you’ve got a dud. Strive on with the former; drop the latter faster than an unsuccessful Premiership manager.
So I keep coming back to my original idea, which is only really an opening scene. The female protagonist is interesting, though. I have many questions for her, even a quest. The male I’m not sure about yet. One thing I do know is that he’ll be different to loveable Jon from 26 Miles to the Moon. Aside from wanting to branch out to a different style of lead character to broaden my writing, I want someone who’s a bit more edgy from the start. You’ll like him, but maybe not so much at first. Give him a chance, though, as he might surprise you. He’ll go on a journey, too.
So do I have a story from this, or is it going nowhere?
For 26 Miles to the Moon, I was excited by the concept of writing about a marathon, of describing New York, of the whole space competition. Sure, the concepts took shape over time, but I was delighted to fit everything in that I initially wanted.
I want to be passionate about my next book. I want to want to write it.
So where’s my passion for this?
Well, for location, I have Vegas in mind and I’m passionate about that. Having frequented the odd establishment in the occasional trip over the years, I have plenty to draw inspiration from. And with Vegas, anything goes, so I can do pretty much what I want and make it believable! But at the same time, I don’t want it to be cheesy – Vegas is hardly a new concept to write about. If I’m not careful, it could end up looking like an episode of CSI or a hash of The Hangover. No, it’s either got to play a smaller part, or it’s got to be a fresh take on it. I’d love to take people there who’ve never been, and delight those who’ve have and can relate to the madness of it.
But of course Vegas is just a location, and only a possible one at that. I need to be passionate about the idea, the characters – they’re the more important things. Should I have a unique hook? Or should I fall in with a standard story? What about a specific genre this time? Thriller? Romance? This might depend on how 26 Miles to the Moon is received; if industry feedback screams at me that its mainstream genre is hindering its chances, I certainly don’t want to have the same problem with my second book. My gut feel is that I’ll either do something similar as before – a light-hearted mainstream – or target the edge of a specific genre.
Of course maybe this discussion is moot. Maybe this girl will take charge, tell me I have to write her story and I’m left with whatever genre it turns out to be.
Women, eh? Even the fictional ones try and tell you what to do…