Friday, August 17, 2012

A Writer's Week #32: Where Are All These Ideas Coming From?

This week was a good week. From a writing standpoint it was mildly productive. I only wrote about 1,000 words this week--half my weekly goal. However, I did have a couple great ideas. But first thing's first.

The Deliverers 2 (still without a real name as I mention every week. Can you tell that bothers me?) is coming along. I'm at about 41,000 words, which is 47 chapters and 182 pages. As I said, my production this week was low and that's because I've run into a bit of a strange problem.

Eric, Hallo and Kate have gone off on one mission, while Stig has gone off on another. That's not a problem--they've been doing that for most of the book. The trouble is, I've written a beautiful climactic scene, and only Hallo is there to witness it. I really like the scene, but it's happened a bit too early.

So now, I'm puzzling over whether it's possible to move that scene until later, or if I should go back to the point where they split up (about 1,500 words) and rewrite things so that they don't break up and all can be present for the big moment, as they should. I have a feeling I know what I'll wind up doing, but I'm going to look at it from every possible angle first. And I thought I was going to take a break from writing on my vacation!

Anyway, I did have a couple of great writing-related ideas this week--one near-term, and one that's more of an idea for the future. The longer range one was an idea I had for a middle grade historical fiction novel. I've always wanted to write one of these types of books, you know something along the lines of My Brother Sam is Dead, or Johnny Tremain.  I had an idea to base it on a battle that took place near where I grew up, but it's going to take a lot of research.

The shorter term idea is more of a risk and requires some background. When I was younger, I was an adult adviser for a high school group at my church. Every year, we would put on an all night retreat for them right before Christmas.There was one point in the retreat around midnight when everyone would go up from the hall into the church and listen to a story like Barrington Bunny or The Velveteen Rabbit.

 One year our Deacon, Bart Mauceri, suggested that I write the story and base it on the theme of that year's retreat. After some convincing, I took up the challenge and did okay. The kids liked it. I wrote a story every year for the next 15 years.

So this weekend I was thinking as I was mowing the lawn. While I was thinking, I ran over a bee's nest and got stung once (my ankle blew up like a balloon--never had that happen with a sting before). But I also came up with a great idea. Why not take some of those stories, edit them, and release them as a little book of inspirational Christmas stories for kids?

Now, my wife will tell you that she suggested the idea five years ago, and that's true. However, at that time, I had no clue how to do it. Now it just seemed like the time was right. That night, I propped my swollen foot up and took a look at those stories. Some were terrible, some needed a lot of editing, but after looking through them, I picked twelve that could be used. I pulled them all into a Word document and it comes to 100 pages--a decent length for a collection of short stories. I went to bed at 3:00 am.

So now I have to get it all edited and get some artwork and have it laid out in time to be released around Thanksgiving. Will I be able to do it? I don't know, but I asked my sister Anne if she would do a few drawings. She really good at drawing animals and she promised to have a few drawings done by the middle of September, so things are moving. I'll let you know what develops next week.

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