Tuesday, February 27, 2007

What If?

Someone I know recently said she'd love to write a book but she couldn't come up with any original ideas. She'd think of a plot and then realize she'd read it a year ago. She sighed and said she wished she could just come up with really cool ideas so she could be a writer.

Well, so do I.

I don't wake up in the mornings and think, "Eureka! Another ten best-selling ideas!" I doubt anybody does.

It's all about asking "What if".

What if you could understand animals?

What if aliens exist?

What if Elvis is alive in some tiny little backwater town, happily munching on Krispy Kremes and admiring his blue suede shoes?

Yes, all these ideas have been done before. Honestly, at a basic, bare-bones level, there aren't any new ideas. There are, however, brilliant, funny, chilling, bizaare, poignant, clever twists on old ideas.

You take your "what if" and keep pushing. What if you can talk to animals and you realize you can use them to get what you want? What if you can marshall an army of spiders to target the homes of people who've done you wrong? What if you didn't realize this until you'd spoke your desire out loud and awakened the next morning to find it came true?

See? Take one "what if" and push. Flesh out your character. Don't be afraid to go in a new direction. Get halfway through the story, figure out what you really meant to say, and start over.

My friend could write a book if she wanted. She could come up with an original plot if she kept asking what if and didn't expect instant gratification.

It took me five months of asking "What if" to get Alexa's story. A great idea is worth the wait.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Devil Has Merit Badges

Two days ago the devil visited my house. I know this because I came home from work to find four - count them, four!- boxes of Girl Scout cookies on my kitchen counter. Two Thin Mints. Two Tag-Alongs.

This is NOT FAIR.

I was content with my Flaxseed cookies (hey, don't knock 'em til you try 'em) and my sugar-free wafers. Really, I was. But nothing, NOTHING, stands up to a Girl Scout cookie.

Not even me.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A New Series Begins

I've been brainstorming since October.

Two weeks ago, as often happens, the answer came to me in the middle of the night. I lay awake for an hour getting acquainted with my heroine and the strange circumstances of her life.

Now, I'm two chapters in and Alexa Tate has me hooked. She's a girly-girl with serious skills (like space-shifting, controlled free-falling, and tracking her prey by scent) who loves red meat and hates blind dates. She lives in New York City, adores Manolo Blahniks, and can outrun absolutely anything. Oh yes, and she isn't human. She's Other.

Until recently, Alexa thought her powers were a gift to be used in her own signature style of vigilante justice. Now she's worried that she wasn't sent to save mankind but to destroy it. And she wasn't sent alone.

Someone is watching her. Tracking her. Hunting. For the first time in her life, Alexa is the prey and her hunter isn't human. He's Other. And he's out for blood.

I'll post the first chapter soon. I have no working title yet but that's more my editor's perogative than mine anyway. I absolutely stink at choosing titles without help.

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