I set my half-filled tea mug down on our dresser with a thump. I was tired. And grumpy. I had spend all evening rummaging through my story ideas, vainly trying to come up with a single one that intrigued me.
I turned to my older sister, Beth Anne, who was sitting on her bed, about to turn off the light. We had just gotten out of a late evening class and, since Beth Anne is notorious for getting up at 5 am, she was about to go to sleep. “What’s wrong?” she asked, pausing. I shrugged, flopping down on her bed, and rubbing my eyes. “I have problems.” She repressed a laugh and patiently asked me what they were. “I still can’t find a story idea.”
Ever since I laid New Identity to rest, I have been (other than resting my cramped creative muscles) trying to uncover that next magical seed, the idea for my next project. But for over a week, my search had been fruitless. I found this problem more than slightly annoying. For one, because I simply missed the companionship of a novel project; thinking about it each night before I go to sleep, turning the idea over and over in my mind during the day, like a precious gem. But on top of that, I found my meager idea collection annoying.
Unlike most other writers my age that I know, my mind isn’t constantly feeding me new ideas. For some, they’re constantly having that perfect idea pop into their head randomly while they’re trying to focus on another project. It usually takes some dedication to not get distracted and to finish the project their working on, but once they do, they have a plethora of synopses to choose from for their next work. I, however, are usually so focused on my current project, that my mind doesn’t, for some reason, send my these brilliant ideas.
And so I must, after every project, desperately search for a new one. This time around, I had a vague notion of a fantasy story in my mind. But it was all fragmented into images and ideas, and I was having a crappy time of putting the pieces together. But that night, a few days ago, when I plopped down on my sister’s bed in desperation, I was in luck. First off, Beth Anne didn’t immediately kick me off her bed and turn off the lights to go to sleep. But second, she took my notebook from my reluctant hands, and read several of my vague ideas that I had jotted down. We spent the next forty-five minutes going back and forth, discussing the possibilities. Beth Anne, then, took my fragmented ideas and started to piece them together into one story concept. I jotted down most of it, objecting to some parts, and becoming more and more excited about others.
Finally, she did kick me off her bed. “But we aren’t done!” I protested. She turned her lamp off with, “Yes, but its after 11, and I have to get up in the morning.”
And so I’m back into the wonderful, crazy, and fantastical stage of idea creating. Yesterday, I spent most of the afternoon searching for the perfect character name, researching mental abilities, and typing up the vague, shadowy outline of my new story. Today, I shall continue.
“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”
~C. S. Lewis