The best story ideas can start as whispers. Maybe I saw a billboard while I was driving, or connected with a particular verse in a song. Or maybe a story from one of my friends took on a life of its own. Or it could be a single word or short phrase that clicked with me. Or one of the missed connections on craigslist. That, my friends, is a veritable fount of inspiration.
When they inevitably come, these little whispers flutter around in my mind. Sometimes they flutter right out again. Sometimes (okay, 99% of the time) they come to me in while I’m in the shower, when I have no means to jot them down. Of course. And then they’re forgotten by the time I get out.
But sometimes, something takes hold, takes root, and starts to grow.
And that’s how it was with my new release, PLUS ONE. I saw a writing prompt—secret crushes—and those two little words pinged around in my head for a while, and suddenly they started to grow. I got glimpses here and there—a confident, professional woman who had a string of bad luck with dates; she was at the age where many of her friends were getting married, and she was inundated with weddings to attend. And then pretty soon this guy came to me—this amazing, caring, sensitive, manly guy—who had a problem. The problem being the secret crush he’d been harboring for his sister’s best friend for as long as he could remember.
And then PLUS ONE was born. It came to me in flashes and floods—a detail here, a piece of dialogue there, an entire scene typed furiously on my iPhone notepad while waiting in line at school pick-up—and before I knew it, I’d written the first draft.
It isn’t always that easy. Inspiration is fickle and sometimes you have only a small handful of things to work with, but you don’t want to give up on them because you think you may have something really amazing there. And sometimes, like with Plus One, it comes at you like a tsunami, and all you can do is pray your fingers will fly across the keyboard fast enough to catch every last drop.