Saturday, February 13, 2010

On Story Ideas

So it's carnival time down here on the coast. Super cool friends gave us tickets to the Shadow Barons ball tonight and to the Order of Mystic Magnolias on Monday night, and (of course) I started thinking about Debut Novel and how I don't have a scene of Mardi Gras in it.

I really wanted to showcase Baldwin County when I was writing these books. It was just an idea I had because of how much I've written on the area. And as I began surrounding the plot with all the crazy, fun stuff that goes on here, it worked. I was surprised at just how much I know about this gorgeous place and how much I remembered of my complete and utter culture shock moving here.

Baldwin County does not keep a schedule.

And those Get to Knows I write. Goldmine, baby. I got the entire idea for Book 2 from a single quote by a girl who worked in hospitality with Kaiser Realty. She talked about how she had become fascinated with the history of the development of Orange Beach, and she said something about being amazed at how (said developer) had to work to "convince the farmers south of Foley to stop planting sweet potatoes in the sand..."

I love that image. Sweet potatoes in the sand.

But cramming in a Mardi Gras scene just to have a MG scene goes against the other thing I really wanted to do in Debut Novel--avoid all the crap that makes me put books down and never pick them up again. E.g., scenes that don't contribute to the action or advance the story. As dream agent calls them, "scenes of nothing."

Anyway, I had this thought as I was working on Book 3 of MC running into Bad Guy at a MG parade or ball. The image of blue eyes behind a mask is so eery and disturbing. Of course, she'll think it's Jack, but it's really her nemesis demanding she tell him what's going on with his dad.

I like the image of her yelling for help, and the sound being drowned out by the noise of the revelry. Then I was thinking a cop would come up and check on the situation and BG would say he caught her trying to pick his pocket or something and eventually it plays out that the cop leaves and MC goes away, shaken but unharmed.

Little Book 3 teaser for ya, reader friends.

I'm sure most writers experience this. They'll see something or someone will say something or they'll remember a scene from a movie or a line from a song that they just can't shake. That MG image came from a movie I saw in college. But in the movie, the female lead realizes the frightening masker who's following her is her husband and is relieved. I thought of that scene a few times when I was at New Orleans Mardi Gras--another goldmine of potential story ideas.

And maskers are creepy. Especially those guys in the white whole-face masks--the Knights of Ecor Rouge? Freaky.

So we're off to Shadow Barons, and again I expect to be reminded of how this is the most interesting and inspirational place I've ever lived. A superb backdrop for stories.


Unknown said...

If it was Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the cop would be the bad guy! Oh, I'm sorry, trying to inject my own life experience ;P

LTM said...

sin city, baby. sin. city.