The Unexpected Seed of an Idea
I can’t quite believe I’ve typed the magic words ‘The End’ – not only on the manuscript of my latest novel but on the third and final part of a series of three.
My first novel, Change of Life, which recently celebrated its tenth birthday, was written as a standalone. I didn’t even consider writing a series. And the same was true when I started my second one, Displacement.
When I began my first book I had a fairly good idea of the story I wanted to tell, where it would be set, and who the cast list of characters would be. This was probably because I’d first written versions of parts of the novel as various short stories, never really believing I’d actually write a whole book someday.
But Displacement began as a tiny seed. I was in the process of writing my (so far) only children’s novel and wasn’t consciously thinking about a new book for adult readers. But my sub-conscious author brain didn’t give two hoots what I was trying to focus on when, out of the blue, it presented me with a character.
I was at my (then) home on the Scottish island of Skye and I was hanging out the washing in my garden and had paused to take in the breath-taking view over the loch to the mountains. Then this woman appeared in my head.
She wouldn’t go away. I just knew she had a story to tell. Gradually I interviewed, interrogated and thought about her. Slowly she took on a life of her own. Rachel had arrived.
Rachel a fifty-something, divorced mother. Rachel who lived and worked on Skye, combining running a croft (a Scottish form of smallholding or subsistence farming) with being a children’s writer and book illustrator. Rachel who was lost and lonely – until she met Jack.
And the rest is a big part of my fiction writing history.
One becomes Three
As I said, when I began to write Displacement it was only ever meant to be a single, standalone. But I’d no sooner finished it when I realised there was more to be said, more to tell about Rachel and Jack and the rest of the cast. So, Settlement came next.
Then yes, as I also mentioned, the need to write a third in this series took hold of me and Fulfilment will be published in March.
While each of the three books in the Skye series can be read as standalones, I would of course recommend reading all three in order.
However, I do believe it’s now time to let Rachel and Jack and their friends and families get on with their lives in peace. I already miss them terribly, but they’ve had quite enough of my meddling.
I can’t wait to see Fulfilment sitting on my bookshelf with its two siblings. That will give me my own sense of fulfilment – see what I did there? From a tiny acorn of an idea came not just one oak, but three. I know! I’m a writer! Allow me some poetic metaphors.
AND now, it’s very exciting to be contemplating a whole new fertile field and wondering what sort of seedlings might begin to grow …
Okay I’ll stop now – all metaphored out.
But please do watch this space for Fulfilment‘s release date. It’s coming soon 😊
(The buy links for all my books are in the sidebar of this post , or at the foot if you’re reading this on a phone).
And, as always, questions for you –
Writers – how and where do you get your inspiration and ideas?
Readers – do you prefer to read standalones or series? And if you like series, do you prefer the same lead characters in each installment – or do you like new leads for each book, but to catch up with previous stars as part of the follow on stories?
Responses are welcome in the comments below.
6 thoughts on “It Started with a Character: the magical process of writing #writing #reading #RomanceReaders”
Have just added Fulfilment to my reading list for March 😊
That’s great, Joanne ! 🙂
Hi Anne and congratulations on reaching that wonderful moment: THE END. My experience of a character who would not go away was the hero’s younger sister in Mariah’s Marriage, Daisy. I had to re-write several scenes to tone her down and then wrote Daisy’s Dilemma to tell her story. Better out of one’s head than in, I feel – sometimes…Anne Stenhouse
Yes, definitely better out than in, Anne.
Congratulations on the completion of book three of your series. Well done! It is amazing how these seeds of an idea come to us. Right now I am desperately looking for a seed of an idea for my next book. I guess like finding a husband, you usually find him/it when you least expect too.
Haha! I’ll remember that when I’m next looking for ideas or a husband 🙂