Being bored by a pen brings my debut novel
Growing up, I often wondered how writers came up with their ideas, and any time an author is interviewed it's usually one of the questions they're asked. Some writers are very planned, they want to write for a specific genre, where the main character experiences X dilemma, and while trying to overcome that he faces A, B, and C challenges. Yet there are many writers on the other end, where their ideas seem to spring out from nowhere, waving flags and screaming at them.
For me, my ideas come as a mix of both. I have been know to write ideas on my mirror with eyeliner while putting on makeup, afraid that by the time I reach a pad and pen it will have deserted me. For Love Unfinished, I was doing a 'free writing' journal exercise, where the idea is to write whatever comes to your mind as it comes to you. I was curled up on my couch, pen in hand, journal open, and ready for a hand cramp. Here are my first few lines exactly:
Ok, so I'm supposed to open my mind and write...ok, I'm writing, see the words on the page? Write what comes to me, well, this isn't looking like much now is it? Where are the ideas? My finger hurts, why do I always squeeze a pen so tightly? And now I have a blue smudge on my finger, maybe I should use my laptop. I wonder why the task of actually writing, with a pen and paper, seems like such a daunting task these days? Maybe technology is ruining us. Maybe life would be better like the good old days, when kids rode bikes instead of texting, when women stayed home with their kids, when life was simple and not so muddled with pretend busyness.
And like that, the scene hit me, like a movie playing in a theater only I can see. This sweet, young couple in the forties, maybe early fifties. Maybe it's their wedding day? Look at her, so proud in the dress her mother made. And him, so handsome and slender, how nice they look together. How terrible it would be to die on your wedding day, I thought, now seeing the tragic end to their lives. But what if they had the chance to come back? What if they were reincarnated to find each other again? Hmm, now there's an idea.
Being raised a Christian, I knew nothing of reincarnation or how many ideas and different beliefs there are about it throughout the world. I jotted down a few notes...
Carol and Ted, young, met as kids. Soul mates, love strong enough to bring new lives. Is there a waiting place for souls? I don't remember having moved from my seat, but somehow I was at my laptop, researching reincarnation, 1950's wedding dresses and jewelry.
Once I felt I had a decent grasp on reincarnation and what my young newlyweds looked like, I planned what might happen to the lovely couple, and what would happen to them in their new lives, with poor Emma being already married to another man. And thus, Love Unfinished was born, taking on a life of its own with me along for the ride, hoping I could get all the words down as the characters told me their story.