My trip back home was fruitful. I found many old journals, stories, and story ideas. I found dictionaries, thesauruses, and grammar books, along with books on writing, complete with exercises. I don’t know what I expected to find, but I found far more.
There’s one story idea that I’ve had for a long time that I wanted to unearth and work on, possibly for this summertime incarnation of NaNoWriMo that is coming up (Camp NaNoWriMo). Through the years, I’ve scribbled this idea out as both a story and a play, never getting very far with it, just writing down the basic premise. I’ve come back to the idea any number of times, and promptly put it down when something else came along. As a result, I am now looking at three similar yet different plot points.
The story centers around a young woman who has a)just lost her father b)just lost her mother, or c)lost her father three years ago. In either scenario, both parents are now dead. She is a)a very wealthy heiress or b)drowning in debt. She’s either very meek and inoffensive or very rude. Obviously, I’ve come to this story with very different things in mind each time.
It’s kind of like what happened with the Southern Gothic novel. It started, in it’s earliest conception, being about the murder of a despised public figure. That idea somehow morphed into a ghostwriter helping a prejudiced woman write her memoirs. Explaining that huge leap is really simple: a minor character became the focal point instead of the original story, then the original storyline was cut away from this telling.
It’s interesting to look back at the evolution of a story, to see what ideas I scrapped that may be stories of their own. At the moment, I’m not sure which storyline I want to pick up in this possible Camp NaNoWriMo story, but the loss of a parent is so searing that it can be used again, taken in a completely different direction. But it does beg the question, which would you rather have: too many possibilities or only one alternative? When are you the most creative–when you have to choose between several options or when you have to make one work?
For me, I like options. I will take one, follow it along until it hits a dead end or I get bored with it, and choose another one. Sometimes, though, one option becomes the only option, the more I get to know the characters. If you ever get stuck, as I do, instead of killing the story, it may be time to go back a bit and take a left where before you took a right. I’m not sure if I’ll finally be able to focus long enough to make a great story out of this idea, but here’s to trying, right?
Wish me luck.
- To Plot, or Not to Plot? (qu33nofspades.com)
- NaNoWriMo, Scrivener & the Price of My Time (kjersten.wordpress.com)
- If it’s Camp NaNoWriMo, does my writing have to be campy? (shardsofinfinity.wordpress.com)
- Scared by a story? Meet Elise VanCise…. (dragonflyscrolls.wordpress.com)
- NaNoWriMo in the Summer? Oh Yes! (thewriterrunner.wordpress.com)