Friday, March 14, 2014

Surprisingly Terrific Idea

Last week, a friend sent an e-mail that she had a story idea for me. Now, in the history of me telling people that I am a writer, I have received an average of 99% percent of the time being told that they have a great story idea that I should follow up on. While I appreciate their offer, I've never received one that fits what I am into writing about. So I always suggest that they write about it

So when CJ, whom I know because our boys have been friends since the third grade, e-mails me with her idea, my first thought is that I am being spammed, or sent a virus. At the very least, I think that I will be politely telling her that the story is something that she should follow up on--not for me.

Boy, was I wrong.

Not only was she not a spam or a virus, she has a terrific idea that we are running away with. We met for an official business meeting the next morning over coffee at Starbucks (she had coffee, I just kept talking). After presenting her idea in full, I ran off at the mouth of what I had been thinking of to go with her suggestion and then couldn't shut up with what I wanted to do with the characters.

We started out, feeling around in the dark, molding the elusive plot, crafting characters out of thin air, and laughing at the silly things the hero and protagonist could do together and against one another.  Turns out, this is going to be a really fun book to read and write.

The extra whipped cream on this whole shinboggon is that CJ is a born media marketing genius.  That woman knows how to get the word out to the right audience about any subject known to man/woman/animal.  And she enjoys doing this. In my mind, that is a crazy awesome skill to possess but more difficult than gaining and keeping the respect of my teenage sons.

And if I am able to write half as well as she seems to think I can, well, I can tell you that we would be on Oprah for our success story if Oprah were still on television. Perhaps our story will be so danged impressive that she will do a special on the Internet about us. Could happen.  Or maybe Ellen Degeneres because I always thought she was a funny woman. Oh, no wait, on that show by Zach Something--the guy from those Hangover movies who is hysterical.  My son just showed me a YouTube video of him interviewing Obama and Zach Something is a comic genuis. Well, all these interviews I'm dreaming about could come to fruition, could happen. Of course, I have to write the story first. There is always that.

But I did start writing it and the beginning is really funny, the middle does not entirely suck and the ending (which I will write this weekend) has great potential.

I wrote most of it so far in the format of a boy just telling non-stop what has been happening to him. There are some pretty good lines and I think there may even be something that might possibly make somebody laugh someday. Could happen. Once that is done, I'll go back through and see what format it will go in. Also, have a more firm grasp as to the main character's personality.  This is backwards from how I am supposed to work. I should start with the personality, and then write the book. But when I got to the page to start an outline and write out personalities of the characters, my fingers started to type a story and then as I was reading what my fingers were typing, I found that I did not hate what was going on.  When people ask how a writer writes, I think the truth is that we are all just idiots feeling our way in the dark and trying to figure out how we write and then hope that what is on the page doesn't suck too badly.  At least, that is the truth for me.

So, as soon as possible, probably within a few months, I'll have a story that is ready to be critiqued by a writing group. I'll let you know if any big epiphanies come up as to the story and how to write a story. But don't hold your breath. I don't want to be responsible for you winding up in an emergency room from lack of oxygen.

Heather Leigh

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