Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Has this ever happened to you?

You're working on a novel and you're making good progress. Then out the blue an idea for another novel - BAM!! - hits you out of nowhere. At first it's just a spark of an idea - a 'hmm...what if...' question tickles your brain. You put it aside, and then - WHAP!! - something else which follows that idea keeps you thinking about it. Then soon you find yourself thinking it about it A LOT. I mean, ALL THE TIME. And it threatens to take your focus off your original WiP.

That happened to me recently. Most of my novel ideas come out of nowhere, usually when I'm doing some sort of menial task. My second novel spark flickered when I was taking a trash bag out to the garage. Not too long ago, I was washing dishes, my mind began to wander, and different thoughts starting rising up like the bubbles in my dish pan. When an idea comes into my head, I jot it down fast lest I forget it. Then I add it to my 'Children's Novel Ideas' file for future reference. I have little phrases, song lines, questions, something silly one of my kids says, a potpourri of possibilities that I might develop into a story some day. Usually, I add my latest one to the list and forget about it. But this one has been distracting me and I'm excited about developing it into a novel.

When I went to pick up one of my kids from track practice last week, I didn't know what time he'd be finishing up. I took a guess, showed up, and ended up waiting for an hour in my car. But it wasn't a wasted hour because I came equipped with my notebook and the current book I was reading. The dish washing idea had started to take shape, so I spent a good part of that hour jotting down ideas. As I wrote down one idea, another came, and then another. I didn't worry if it made sense, I just wrote and wrote. I even came up with names, something which for me usually happens later in the brainstorming process. Before I knew it I had two full pages. I'm really excited about developing an outline from these notes, but I want to keep working on my current WiP.

I'll let you in on a little secret. I've started 3 novels so far and haven't finished a one. This was going to be the year I finally completed a novel. I don't want to get sidetracked right now, so I'm putting this new idea on the back burner. I'm thinking I may use it for this year's NaNoWriMo - working hard on Nitpicky through Sept. and Oct., then taking a break to do the NNWM (Ha! as if that's really a break). But, for myself, it's important that I finish Nitpicky, even if it doesn't end up being "the one." (more on that another time)

Now, this is where I need your help. The story idea I'd like to develop is a ghost story. However, I haven't read a lot of them. Like none. I'd really like to know and read what is currently out on the market. I recently read on the children's book review blog, Searching for a Good Read a review for The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, a YA ghost story. I checked it out of my library and will start reading it this week. So, if you've read or have heard of a good YA ghost story, preferably current (within the last 10 years) which you're dying (pardon the pun) to tell me about, please leave the title in the comments and I would be oh so grateful.


  1. I WISH it happened to me, but ideas don't come to me easy.

  2. Meg Cabot had a series called "Mediator" that is YA and deals with ghosts (for more info check out here: It may be to chick-lity but I figured I would pass it along. I LOVED the series and devoured all 6 books in two days. Hopefully it will help!

  3. That happens to me all the time! I note down the idea, then finish the novel I'm working on.

  4. Yes it's happened to me. I try to write notes for the other novel ideas in my little notebooks rather than start the new novel until I've completed the first, otherwise as you say nothing gets finished and then what happens? I suddenly decide to write a short story and lose the thread of the novel I was planning to stick with anyway! ;O)

  5. Karen - Same with me. Ideas usually strike when I least expect it. If I'm trying to think one, it's much more difficult.

  6. Thanks for the recommendation, kimmy! I'm looking at any type of YA ghost story - from creepy to romantic.

  7. Thanks for stopping by, Talli!
    Hi Madeleine!

    I don't what I'd do without my stack of notebooks.

  8. FINALLY visiting from KarenG's BBQ (sorry it took so long). Nice to meet you!

    This happens to me a lot -- usually when I am in a creative period (rather than editing or researching). Creativity breeds creativity.

    As for YA ghost books, I don't read much YA but maybe check out Market My Words and the Bookanistas for reviews.