Arianna's Blog

Come listen to the ramblings and assorted babblings of a crazed mother and newbie author. It might not always be helpful, but it should be amusing.

Monday, January 08, 2007

The start of a story

One of the questions I get asked a lot in interviews is "Where do your ideas for your stories come from?" My usual answer is, "Everywhere!"

I'm not trying to be cute or funny, but it's true. I get ideas for stories in the strangest of places. So, in the interest of actually conveying knowlege instead of just complaining about my kids, I'm going to trace a story for you as I'm writing it.

Starting with the birth of the idea. If I'm feeling really energetic, I might even keep track of word count for you too, although this is going to be a short story.

Are you ready? Here we go. . .

Yesterday afternoon, I was walking the dog and listening to my brand new ipod. (I love my husband!) One of the songs on my favorites play list is The Highwayman, sung by Loreena McKennitt. It's really a very sad song when you listen to the words, but it's very poignant. (I'm sure I'm spelling that wrong. Whatever.)

For the rest of the walk, all I could think about was that song and how I could make it have a happy ending--because I'm all about the happy endings. This crap where the hero and/or heroine die at the end of the story? Bulls*it. I don't care if critics love that stuff, I hate it. And if an author kills off the hero, I almost NEVER read another book by them.

So anyway, as I was walking home, the idea of how the landlord's daughter could have gotten away from the Red Coats kept spinning around in my head. What if she had a knife? What if one of the knots was loose?

I knew I had to write the story MY way so it would have a happy ending. I raced home, planning to dive onto the computer and write it up just for fun. This wouldn't be a story for a specific publisher. I have no market for this story, I just have to write it.

Well, the walk continued and my mind kept playing with the story line and I realized I didn't want it to be set in old England. I wanted to make it MY story all the way around. So I decided to set it in another world all together.

So now I'm on a different planet in a different galaxy, but I still want the hero to be a noble bad guy. He can't really be a highwayman though. Crap. I didn't want to think that far ahead, so I pushed that idea away to worry about later.

As soon as I got home, I threw a load of laundry in the washer, hopped into the shower, and plotted how my story would start. I wanted to keep it true to the concept of the song, but I really needed to make it my own.

My fingers itched to hit the computer, but I had to get the fixings for the pot roast started and the house needed to be picked up, and the dishes done. I got crankier with every delay. Didn't my family realize I had this great idea bubbling around in the back of my head????

Finally, finally I got started. Every five minutes someone interrupted me. Ready to rip someone's throat out, I finally put the kitchen timer on and told the children that they weren't to interrupt me until the timer went off unless they were vomiting, spurting blood or the house was on fire.

I went back to work, turning my music up louder so I couldn't hear them fight.
Ten minutes later, my in laws rang the doorbell. My husband had forgotten to tell me what time they were coming over.

I love my in laws, they're wonderful people and so very generous in both time and attention to my children. My mother in law takes care of my kids as often as she can. But right then, I didn't want to see them.

I tried to smile and be polite as they visited, but inside my newly born characters were screaming their heads off at me. As soon as they left, I jumped back on my computer and let the characters talk to me.

I found out my hero has amber eyes. I don't think I've ever had an amber eyed hero before. He also smells of synth leather and spice. He's the captain of his own space ship and loves my heroine more than life itself.

All in all, I managed to get 5000 words written in between interruptions, dinner, laundry, and the chaos that is my house. With any luck at all, I'll be able to get a few more pages in this afternoon after I get home and before I go to work tonight.

I'll keep you posted.


  • At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Kris Starr said…

    Ooo! That sounds great, Ari! "The Highwayman" is probably my favourite McKennitt song, too... that, and "Lady of Shalott".

    I really like your "chronicling" of where your story comes from. Keep going! :)

  • At 9:54 PM, Blogger Christyne Butler said…

    Hmmm, I think I may have to look up this song...and Cat, I got an Ipod too for Christmas! My first download was Kenny Chesney's vido for YOU SAVE ME...yowza!!

    Oh, and I heard a song yesterday that got a story going in my head..."Ain't That A Kick In The Head" by Dean's romantic comedy written all over it!


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