Took a break from my writing this morning to hang laundry (Phil and I have a washer, but not a dryer. We also have a fridge the size of a kitchen cupboard. Ah, European life!). While hanging laundry and thinking about inspiration and my current wip (work in progress), it occurred to me I should share the story of how I found the idea for it.
It all gets back to this desire to write a simple story! I wanted to write something breezy, upbeat, based in the real world (ie, no fantasy) and funny (I think I have a good sense of humor. Phil disagrees =) ). So I ended up with a goofy character named Charlie Macarooni. I had ferrets on the brain, since an agent (who will remain nameless) had requested a partial of ADÈLE, and as I researched her a bit more, I discovered she writes frequently about her pet ferret. So I wrote a short story about a goofy kid, a missing class ferret, a beautiful blonde classmate, and a nasty, ferret-stealing bully. My critique group loved it, and one of these days I will polish it up a bit and see if it might find a home somewhere.
But at the time I was completely distracted and couldn't be bothered to polish the story. I was way too obsessed with my ferret-stealing bully. Why would anyone be mean enough to steal the class ferret? What was his problem? I was at a writer's workshop and challenged to write about a traumatic incident. At the time I was missing my dog, Connor. That's the only way I can explain what came next, a graphic, horrific description of a car hitting a dog and a boy sobbing over him. My poor, ferret-stealing bully now had a back story.
After that it gets a bit fuzzy. Living in Europe, I've been struck by the combination of beautiful cathedrals and grim history questions about where the money to build them came from. So I had a setting and the beginnings of a theme. And for some reason this setting resulted in pagan spirits, since apparently I cannot write a story without undead. Somewhere along the way I decided Charlie's beautiful blonde needed to be the ferret-stealing bully's sister and she needed a story of her own. Then I dropped the ferret mystery and somehow stumbled into a completely different plot. And then it gets even more complicated...
But lovely. Sometimes I get sick of my writing, frustrated with my stories. But at the end of the day the only way I can spend years on a novel is because I love the story. So my next goal is to find another character to fall in love with, a few different philosophical questions to tangle with, a plot would be nice. But looking back on the process this wip has gone through, it might be a while. My inspiration seems to follow a rather meandering road.