For a writer who blogs, it's always a riddle how to talk about what I'm writing without giving spoilers. For my NaNoWriMo project, October Knight, I'm considering writing about it "transparently." That is, letting my blog readers in on what goes on behind the scenes. I'll try to avoid spoilers, but I won't be as concerned about that as I usually am, so...if you hate spoilers, be warned!
Where do you get your ideas? It's a bit different for every project, isn't it?
It's no shocker that I stumbled over the idea for this story in October. Every night I tell bedtime stories to my three little boys. Sometimes I read them, but they prefer it if I make them up (that way they can contribute). I started telling them a goblin version of Cinderella, about a goblin who really wanted to go to a human Halloween party....
It was a simple story at that point, and I wrote it down, thinking it would be a children's story. The more I thought about it, though, the more layers I added, the more I realized it needed to be a little more grown-up than that. Besides, there are tons of kid's Halloween stories, and lots of Halloween Horror stories too, but not much in between. So I decided to make it Young Adult.
Here's the thing. One idea, by itself, is never enough steam to create an engine for the story. I've found that I always need two -- at least two. Before I even start brainstorming, at which point, I'll find more. I always write down ideas when they strike me, even if they aren't enough for a story on their own, because you never know when that idea will find it's predestined soulmate, get hitched and start popping out plot babies.
In this case, the soulmate was an idea I had a few years ago for another holiday novel, a Christmas story about an elf. By itself, it wasn't enough to go on, so I let it sit as an index card in my idea box until now. Actually it's still there, since I've decided to do the Halloween story first. But I already know that they take place in the same universe, with the same rules for magic. The Christmas elf will be a supporting character in the Halloween story.
How did I know the Christmas story wasn't ready to write, but the Halloween story was? It's because I had a seed scene for the Halloween story. In fact, I had a few great scenes that I knew would be high points in the story. I still didn't know much about my character or his goal, how or whether he would achieve it. I still didn't know all the rules of my world or the details of the background. But I could see characters doing cool stuff. That meant this story was ready to become more.