The Idea Factory: How a Plot is Created! By Elizabeth Finn
So, a few years ago, I was having a conversation with a near and dear friend of mine. I’d allowed her to read a partial manuscript that I was attempting to write, and this was one of the first people I’d ever shared my writing with. The story itself, if you’re interested, was shelved for years when I started a family, etc. and was just released on October 22nd! Check out Brother’s Keeper to see what all the fuss was about. Anyhow, my friend asked me where the story came from. Seems a simple enough question really, and yet when I explained my “process” she simply looked at me quizzically; the look of confusion was evident on her face. So, what was my response that threw her for such a loop you ask? It went a little something like this:
Well you know how everyone just fantasizes stories in their head when they’re bored, or when they’re laying in bed, or just when they need to escape real life…
Given the look on her face, she had no idea what I was talking about. Hmmm … well … I certainly didn’t see that non-response coming. Wasn’t everyone writing stories in their head all the time? Apparently not. So, in answer to this question for those of you non-daydreamers, this is how my idea factory works!
When I’m bored, stressed, tired, angry, happy, and any one of a few other hundred or so emotions, and yes, including hungry, I fantasize. I invent stories that are twisted from life, experiences, places I’ve seen, and sometimes nothing more than a dynamic I’ve witnessed between two people. It could be something as simple as a neighborhood that I fell in love with, and I instantly want to insert a great couple, a fabulous love story, and lots of good sex in this world. So, after a long day of work, parenting, school, I collapse in to bed and let my mind wander to the neighborhood. I mentally flip through images, dynamics, conflicts, personalities that seem, for whatever reason, to be stored there. I test them out. I create my characters, adjust them, scrap them and start over, and just play with the story until I start falling in love with them—and all this before I’ve even put fingers to keys and started writing!
The idea will sit in my mind, and I’ll run the story start to finish over and over, but the story will change with every pass. I might do this for years … or until I started writing these stories certainly floated around for years, being written and then re-written over and over. Now, when it’s time to start a new manuscript, I start flipping through the stories that have been stored in my head like my Kindle cloud, and I pluck one out. I let it sit for a few days, and maybe I exchange it for another, and once I’ve committed to sharing a story that’s rattled around in my noggin for who knows how long, I start typing.
I likely hate what I’m writing for the first ten to twenty pages, at least that’s been my experience so far, but I push on and on and on and on. Then one day, if I’m very lucky, I look at what I’ve created and realize I’ve fallen in love my characters and my story all over again. Sound bizarre? Well until a few years ago, I thought everyone was a storyteller in their heads… So, bizarre to me is trying to figure out what the heck is going on in the heads of the non-daydreamers across the world! I mean seriously, what are non-daydreamers doing when they’re sitting in a boring meeting, lounging in a waiting room, driving down the road, standing at the stove cooking…
Elizabeth Finn is a contemporary erotic romance author. Visit her at ElizabethFinnFiction.com to find out more about what she’s up to or email her at ElizabethFinn77@gmail.com – she’d love to hear from you!