Anyway, as you may know, I’ve been searching for the right book idea for a long while. Since early last summer, to be exact. That’s almost eight months! (Geez, where does the time go?) In that span of time, I’ve been working quite a bit on edits with my lovely, brilliant agent, so that has distracted me. But still. Eight months, I’ve been struggling with this.
It’s not that I haven’t had ideas. Oh sheesh. Ask Diana or my husband, I’ve had PLENTY. Some I cast away instantly. Some I scribbled a page or two of notes on, and then lost steam. And many of them are still in my notebook, simmering. But it seemed as if I just couldn’t pick one and have it feel right.
Finally, I narrowed it down to two very different ideas. And for the past month, those two ideas have been bouncing around in my head. I found myself waffling back and forth, back and forth between them. I even picked one, and started to outline, but once again lost steam somehow. To tell the truth, part of me was starting to wonder if I’d run aground with my writing.
Then, three days ago, the floodgates opened.
For whatever reason, I started to think about one of my two ideas, and I couldn’t stop. I started to dream about the main characters, write notes about them. Then, those character notes turned into overarching story notes. And those story notes turned into plot notes. And all of the sudden, I was writing an outline.
Three days later, I’ve finished a detailed, seven page outline, and HOLY CRAP I CAN’T WAIT TO START WRITING.*
All of this has reminded me of one very important truth with writing: when the idea is ready, you’ll know. As I looked back on every story I’ve written, I’ve always had that BAM moment, when I could see the path ahead of me, and the writing engine suddenly roared.
It hasn’t always taken me eight months (thank goodness!) For one of my novels, it took two days from idea to BAM. But the point is, I’ve never been able to stick with a story without first having that moment.
How about you? Do you have to have a BAM moment before writing? Or are you one of those people that joyously writes anything you want, the moment you sit down to write it? (If so, please accept this punch in the nose.)
*Note to my agent, should she be reading, I have not forgotten Searcher edits! I will be dutiful and work on them before I start writing this new book. Pinkie swear.