Ideas vs. Stories

I never have a problem coming up with story ideas. Never. I have a folder full of them on my desktop. Why? Because ideas are everywhere. They’re in overheard conversations, news reports, billboards, TV commercials, movies. Even a slogan on a t-shirt can prompt an idea. Thing is, ideas aren’t stories and so… while I have tons of ideas, I have only a few stories. So far.

Several of my ideas have grown into story blurbs. I’m excited about all of them and cannot wait to dig in to each blurb and flesh it out. That’s the fun, creative part of writing – it’s also the most frustrating.

Imagine reading a book and you really get into it. It’s gripping and you cannot wait to see how the tension escalates, how the hero and heroine overcome their conflicts and make love. So you turn the page… but it’s blank. Turn another page. Again… blank. Frantically, you leaf through the rest of the book and finally spot some words on page 82. But they’re just a tease – an overview of what’s about to happen. How did the characters get to that spot? How will they get out of it? You want to know all this but no one is around to tell you.

Welcome to the creative time in a writer’s life – both thrilling and frustrating at the same time. Thrilling because we get to decide what and how things happen. Frustrating because we’re eager to know but first must form all the pieces from nothing, then fit them together. It’s the hair-pulling time in a writer’s life. It’s also the most thrilling time because when each of those pieces fit, when the hero shakes the demons from his back or the heroine sees her own worth for the first time and they come together as equals in love, it’s the most gratifying moment a writer can imagine.

Unless, of course, you count the moment a contract is offered. 😉

Speaking of…

I am now awaiting word from a publisher regarding my last story. Of course, I hope they love it as much as I do and offer that contract, but I won’t know… until I know. So in the meantime, I’m doing what a writer is supposed to do. I’m challenging the ideas in my folder, seeing which one can stand the plotting test, and I’m forging ahead, hopeful, eager to torture a new hero and heroine just long enough to make them see their strengths so I can, once again, provide a happily ever after.

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