Yes, I'm here talking about ideas again? Why? Two reasons.
One, nobody needs another writer blogging about the trials and tribulations of the query process. If I wanted to post about that, not only would I wait for IWSG, but I'd just pull up some angsty poetry I wrote in high school and let my 15-year-old self speak for me. I mean, if I'm going to mutter about how much life sucks, I might as well make it amusing for everyone.
Two, I'm in the editing stage, and blogging about editing is boring. Seriously, what am I going to say? "Today, I took out words. I also added words. Most importantly, I replaced some words with better words. And despite my best efforts, I can't get this book under 95,000 words. Woe." And then we're right back to angsty poetry.
Anyway, I too often find myself having tons of ideas and not enough actual plot. I can come up with cool stuff happening and interesting places to have it happen without any trouble, but figuring out why it's happening and who it's happening to and what's going to come of all of it? Not always easy. So that moment when I have the key idea, when I find the thing that was missing that's going to turn this pile of people, places, things, and various other oddities into a real story? That's something special.
I'm writing about this now because I had one of those moments today. Naturally, I had it when I was at work and due to clock out in less than a minute. (I'm neurotic about my precise clock-in and -out times at work. My former supervisor asked if I was okay when I clocked in seven seconds late one morning.) I wrote it down, and spent most of the drive home figuring out how to make it work.
As a side note, am I the only one who gets their best ideas when they're not trying to think of anything story-related? This is why I keep a notepad at work. And I've had more good story ideas while in the shower than I want to count.
But it hit me, right as I scribbled it down, just how important that key idea is to how I work. I blogged before about how having that one idea took me from a jumble of various ideas into an actual story, and I'm thrilled to have it happen again. I still need to actually plot the thing, and that will have to wait until editing is done, because I'm horrible at working on more than one project at once.
All the same, though, it's one more step on the road, one more discovery of my creative process, one more thing to look for on future plots. And it all leads to one more story to tell.
So, does this sort of thing happen to anyone else? Do your ideas come to you fully-formed, or do they take some digging to fully unearth? And, though it's perhaps less important than where they finish, where do they start?