Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Birth of an Idea...or Two!

Book ideas are funny things.  It usually starts with one small idea for me, and then as I ask myself questions, layer upon layer is added and the idea grows.  Generally my ideas seem to come out of nowhere.  I can be sitting on the couch, doing dishes, half asleep in bed, driving the car, you name it -- and BAM.  Something hits me.  Then my eyes glaze over as I begin to play around with it and creating ensues.  Not every idea gets written.  Sometimes it fades away.  Sometimes I write a few pages to get it out of my system, and the inspiration snuffs out.  But when an idea sticks, I try to run with it.

I've recently had two very different ideas.  One, a YA contemporary romance, hit me out of nowhere in a complete blurb. I will share it with you, but please don't add it to Goodreads or anything like that, because there's no guarantees in this business. Remember, this is a working blurb, just for fun.  I probably shouldn't even share it, but oh, what the heck...

All around her, seventeen-year-old Zae Monroe sees boys using girls for their own pleasures. After being cheated on by the only guy she’s ever loved, and then watching her parents' marriage crumble, she becomes anti-love and pro-fun. It’s time to turn the tables on the stupid boys of the world. It’s time for girls to be a little selfish and take what they want. Zae's preferred pleasure happens to be kissing. Athletes, musicians, poets, and potheads--their lips are all on her agenda. When she and her best friends have a contest to see who can kiss the most boys during the summer before their senior year, Zae keeps her eye on the prize while the other girls fall left and right for their victims. It's not until the sweet guy from her English class rejects her drunken advances at a party that she gains perspective on the reasons behind her boy hatred, and starts to wonder if she wasn't wrong about the male race...or at least one of them.
I sent this blurb to my writing bestie/first beta reader, Nyrae Dawn, and she was like, "OMG! I love this! Write it!"  But I'm weird.  So weird.  I was glad to have the idea, but I wasn't ready to write it.  The layers weren't piling on the way I needed.

Plus, I'll be honest...I'd been experiencing a major lack of confidence in my writing and the publication process at the beginning of the fall.  I'd taken the summer off, and I just couldn't seem to get back into it.  Totally a mental thing.  Writer's Block, if you will.  Terrible stuff.

But I missed writing.  I started to freak out and get sad because I wanted to write, but nothing was speaking to me the way I needed.  I need to have an idea shout at me, and not leave me alone.  That's my idea of inspiration.  I was tired of sitting around waiting for an idea, so I decided to take matters into  my own hands.

There seem to be a lot of fairy tale retellings lately.  I wasn't feeling inspired by any of the usual, well-known stories, but I was wondering if a more obscure fairy tale might spark an idea for me.  So I went to the basement and dusted off my old copy of Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales.  I bought the big book years ago, trying to be all literary and cool, but quickly realized the tales were a bit too dark for me.  There seems to be some horrific twist in all of the stories, and though I appreciate horror writing, I am not geared toward that writing myself.

I opened up to the Contents page and began looking through the story titles.  One caught my eye: "The Singing Bone."  Ooh, intriguing, huh?  So I flipped to that page and voila!  I read the first two paragraphs, and my brain seemed to swell and spin.  I didn't even care what the rest of the story said.  An idea had taken root, big and fat in my imagination, and I felt the familiar buzz of inspiration.  Of course, I read the rest of the story, but true to the Grimm's format I was disturbed by the tale!  So, when I say this story idea was inspired by "The Singing Bone," I'm only talking about the introduction to the tale.  I'm a romance writer, after all.  :)

I began writing this story (again, please don't add to Goodreads!) - It's a YA fantasy/magical realism romance which I'm calling THE GREAT HUNT, and you'll never believe what happened.  That other story, the contemporary one about smooching, totally came bursting to life and butted in!  Suddenly I had two strong ideas vying for my attention.  For the first time ever I have two differing works-in-progress, but strangely it's working for me.  I'm taking turns writing both HUNT and KISS.  Here's a fun bonus - my beta readers and my agent adore both stories!  I'm still only in the early-ish stages, but I am loving them!  It's a joy to be writing for fun with no pressure of a deadline or contract.  However, if a publisher wants one I will welcome the pressure.  Bring it!  :)

I hope to have more info for you soon, but I wanted to let you know what's up with me these days since I've been so quiet.  In other news, I have a HUGE holiday giveaway coming in November (including SWEET RECKONING ARCs!!! - No, I don't have ARCs yet, but they should be ready soon!)  

For those of you who are curious, here is an online version I found of the story I mentioned.  A little creepiness just in time for Halloween.  :-)  Big hugs!  I love y'all!

"The Singing Bone"

by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm 

(The Brothers Grimm)

     Once upon a time in a certain country there was great concern about a wild boar that was destroying the peasants' fields, killing the cattle, and ripping people apart with its tusks. The king promised a large reward to anyone who could free the land from this plague, but the beast was so large and strong that no one dared to go near the woods where it lived. Finally the king proclaimed that whoever could capture or kill the wild boar should have his only daughter in marriage.
     Now in this country there lived two brothers, sons of a poor man. They declared that they dared to attempt the task. The older one, who was crafty and shrewd, did so out of pride. The younger one, who was innocent and simple, did so because of his kind heart.
     The king said, "In order to be more sure of finding the beast, you should enter the woods from opposite sides."
     Thus the older one entered the woods from the west, and the younger one from the east.
     After the younger one had walked a little while, a little dwarf stepped up to him. He held a black spear in his hand and said, "I am giving you this spear because your heart is innocent and good. With it you can confidently attack the wild boar. It will do you no harm."
     He thanked the dwarf, put the spear on his shoulder, and walked on fearlessly.
     Before long he saw the beast. It attacked him, but he held the spear toward it, and in its blind fury it ran into the spear with such force that its heart was slashed in two.
     Then he put the monster on his back and turned towards home, intending to take it to the king.
     Emerging from the other side of the woods, he came to a house where people were making merry drinking wine and dancing. His older brother was there too. Thinking that the boar would not run away from him any time soon, he had decided to drink himself some real courage. When he saw his younger brother coming out of the woods with his booty, his envious and evil heart gave him no peace.
     He called out to him, "Come in, dear brother. Rest and refresh yourself with a beaker of wine."
     The younger brother, suspecting no evil, went in and told him about the good dwarf who had given him the spear with which he had killed the boar.
     The older brother kept him there until evening, and then they set forth together. After dark they came to a bridge over a brook, and the older brother let the younger one go first. When the younger brother reached the middle above the water, the older one gave him such a blow from behind that he fell down dead.
     He buried him beneath the bridge, took the boar, and delivered it to the king, pretending that he had killed it. With this he received the king's daughter in marriage.
     When his younger brother did not return he said, "The boar must have ripped him apart," and every one believed it.
     But as nothing remains hidden from God, this black deed was also to come to light.
     After many long years a shepherd was driving his herd across the bridge and saw a little snow-white bone lying in the sand below. Thinking that it would make a good mouthpiece, he climbed down, picked it up, and then carved out of it a mouthpiece for his horn. When he blew into it for the first time, to his great astonishment the bone began to sing by itself:
Oh, my dear shepherd,
You are blowing on my little bone.
My brother killed me,
And buried me beneath the bridge,
To get the wild boor
For the daughter of the king.
     "What a wonderful horn," said the shepherd. "It sings by itself. I must take it to the king."
     When he brought it before the king, the horn again began to sing its little song. The king understood it well, and had the earth beneath the bridge dug up. Then the whole skeleton of the murdered man came to light.
     The wicked brother could not deny the deed. He was sewn into a sack and drowned alive. The murdered man's bones were laid to rest in a beautiful grave in the churchyard.

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