Where do ideas come from? How do you choose the names of your characters? Do you write about people you know? These are valid questions and sometimes as a writer you scratch your head and shrug. “I dunno. Thought about it while I ate my cereal in the morning.”
Creativity springs from the strangest of catalysts. For me, According to Plan started as a story about a young woman who inherits a mirror from her late Aunt Tillie, and a handsome Scottish Laird from fourteenth century Scotland is trapped inside. It’s up to our heroine, Rowena, to release him from his centuries old prison.
How in the world did I go from Rowena and Liam to Shelby and Tank? Good question. First let’s deal with Rowena.
It all started with a conversation flitting through my head where Rowena received a phone call from an annoying nerdy neighbour – Regis. It went like this.
I hated Roe. Made me think of salmon swimming upstream to lay their gooey eggs.
For some obscure reason when I began writing the whole scene, Rowena didn’t flow off my tongue the way I thought it should. This frustrated me, because I sooooo wanted to use that line from the above dialogue. Alas, Rowena was scrapped. All good workshops will tell you - be prepared to cut your little darlings - and cut I did. Under protest I might add.
Next one up: Liam. I loved the name Liam and the character I wrote. Such a cheeky bugger. Liam watched my newly named character Shelby getting down and dirty with her boyfriend, and then informed her she should call him out of the mirror, and he’d satisfy all her desires. The sexual tension increased between the two of them.
Who was Shelby having sex with? A shady boyfriend I introduced as Tank, who dropped by regularly for a little sumthin, sumthin. The action between Shelby and Tank was hot, hot, hot, hot, HOT! By the end of the manuscript Tank had taken over completely, and Liam wound up as the secondary character. When he finally escaped the mirror, Shelby was well and truly spoken for. Too bad, because in my mind, Liam is devastatingly handsome, and deserves his own story. Hmmm…..
The final straw for poor Liam was when an editor rejected this manuscript, and told me to cut Liam out completely. He was too big of a distraction and I should concentrate on the love story between Shelby and Tank. Which I did. This same editor loved Liam as much as I and she also told me he deserved his own story. Maybe one day…
Through all of this the main plot, which involved Shelby trying to find the same missing person as Tank, never changed. With my convoluted wanderings, I created a love story I hope the reader will enjoy, and when they finish the book, feel like they’ve met two people who could be good friends in real life.