I'm author ELLE STRAUSS and welcome to my website!
I write fun, lower Young Adult (teen) fiction to do with whimsical things like time-travel, fairies and merfolk.
When my serious side peeks out, she's called LEE STRAUSS. She likes to write upper YA about real things that have happened in the past, or made up things that could quite possibly happen in the future.
This blog is about books, mine and other fab authors', but occasionally I'll share about other topics.
Thanks for dropping by!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
How To Write: Developing the Great Idea
I just wrote a YA novel from start to finish in the last five months—How did I do it? What was my mental process? I should know this info, not just to share with others, but so that I understand it better myself. I’ve written several novels now, and mostly I just wing it… but with each new project I’m starting to see a pattern form. I’m picking through what works (for me) and what doesn’t.
So here goes:
The first thing you need is an Idea. I covered this already in earlier WHTW posts. Not just an idea, but a hooky idea. A hooky idea is something you can sum up in one line.
ie: Girl falls in love with a vampire who’s committed to not killing her.
Girl grows a blossom out of her back and finds out she’s a fairy just in time to fight the trolls and save her fairy kingdom.
You can read two of mine in my profile at the top of this blog.
So, you have a hooky idea, now what?
You need to develop the idea. Take some time to “think write”. Sit in the sun, put your feet up and mull it over. Who is this story about? You don’t need to know everything about this person, but gender, age and situation are important. What plot ideas that support your hook come to you? Jot them down. A few new ideas, variables, crazy possibilities will come to you—write them all down. How about a title? Pick a title. It may change but you need something to work with.
Once you have a story starting to form, open a file on your computer and call it Hooky Book (whatever your working title is) notes.
You’ll find that as you go about your day and your week, more ideas will come to you. Enter them in your note file. These don’t all have to make sense. They’re just ideas you may or may not use, but you don’t want to forget them.
Don’t rush this process. Give yourself time to let the creative juices flow. Consider it similar to baking a loaf of bread (yes, I’m still stoked about my new bread making machine!) You have to throw all the ingredients into a pan (only in the book writing case, you can do it in any order and you don’t need to follow a recipe). Take time to kneed your ideas together. Give it more time to sit and rise. And well, the baking….that takes much, much longer. :D
At some point you will have an idea of what the beginning, the middle and the end will look like (though these, of course are subject to change). Now you’re ready for the next step…
Which I’ll talk about next week!