Thursday, January 28

What Came First?



by Margie Senechal

What I’ve noticed about this week’s theme is that it’s basically what came first? The chicken or the egg? Most of the girls have chosen the chicken—er, the characters. 

I’m different. For me, it’s the idea that comes first. My characters arrive to tell the story that I’m creating in my head.

My current WIP’s all began with an idea. From the girl who collects suitcases but never goes anywhere to the discovery of dinosaur bones in a backyard that preempt the swimming pool installation.  

And the ideas come from anything at any given moment.  I thought of the suitcase story because my favorite aisle to walk up and down to dream is the suitcase aisle. But, I don’t have the resources to go all the places I dream of going at this particular juncture of my life and thus Ana was born to tell that story—although very different from mine.

I have a romance brewing based on a plaque I saw last year that read: What happens under the mistletoe stays under the mistletoe. And I thought, “What if it doesn’t????”

A couple of years ago, my sister was coming home from somewhere and talked to this woman in the airport about a book—Me Before You, if I remember correctly—and while they were in baggage claim, the woman’s family showed up and she dropped her purse to greet them. My sister picked it up and started following her. As she did, it occurred to her that she had no idea if the woman might have a bomb in there.  Lightbulb!  And I have a story brewing about an identical twin of an accused suicide bomber at PDX. It’s still in rough shape, but every once in a while, I have an idea that I jot down for it.

As for process, it varies as much as my ideas.  Different books have different processes. But, they all usually begin easily—the first couple of chapters springing out of me without a problem.

And then, I have to think. And think. I think they call that plotting. And I brainstorm—probably one of my favorite exercises to do.

 The brainstorming might be followed up by a rough outline. By rough outline, I mean a line or two of things that need to happen in the next few chapters. A lot of times I’ll have snippets of conversation come to me in bits and pieces that make it into at least one version of the manuscript—may not always stay.

I am also one of those writers who edits as I go. I write the first draft in hand because I think better with a pen or Sharpie Liquid Pencil—instrument of choice—in my hand and graph paper in front of me. That draft is edited as I type it into the computer and then I print out a hard copy to read and that one will be edited as well. By the time I finish a “first draft”, I will have edited it into the double digits.

So, to sum this up, I am the egg.

8 comments:

  1. I love this post, Margie! I also love (and want to see more of) the suitcase story. It's the neatest startup premise in the world and I have wished more than once that I had it.

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    1. I recently went back to it, so when I get the final "first" version done of the chapters, I'll be sending it wrangler way :)

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  2. The suitcase bomber sounds like so much fun! And I love that you're an egg. :)

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    1. LOL, Thanks Chicken :) and the suicide bomber is supposed to be suspenseful--whole different genre for me, so we'll see...

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  3. Great post, Margie (though I'm a little distracted by your fab pictures :-) I love that you star with an idea... a "what if?" Adding the layers of characters just makes that "what if" even more interesting.

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  4. Love this post, Margie--it really puts us inside you as a writer. Even though we start in different places, it seems we both do the notes thing as we write. Cool! And Sharpie Liquid pencils? Something new to me, I'm off to Amazon to see what those are!

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    1. The liquid pencils are so smooth. And you can erase! I detest black ink, but not with these--although it's more charcoal grey. LOL
      You can find them at Office Max if you don't want to wait for Amazon. I discovered them a few years ago when we got individual ones in for school supplies. If I'd known I'd have to hunt them down now, I would've bought the entire tub back then :)

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