One question I'm often asked when someone finds out I'm a writer is, "Where do you get your ideas?" And I guess that's really a compliment to any writer when you think of it. I mean writing a book, like other creative acts, is crafting something from nothing more than a thought, maybe one that's rattled around in your head for a while or has newly arrived.
This is Nan Marino's great Middle Grade book that reaches back to the first moon walk, but is a wonderful story about kids right here on earth. It's a recent Honor Recipient of a Golden Kite Award. Where did Nan get her idea?
I think of what I do as being very similar to what a gardener does, the difference being writers don't have to study an almanac for when to plant. So the metaphor isn't complete, just appropriate for spring which is fast approaching here in California. Hope you'll bear with me in this seed-plant/thought-book comparison.
In February whenever the REVISION stalled, I'd go to the greenhouse and plunk in a few seeds while I balled out those stubborn characters for not shaping up as they should. Then in March about the same time as my characters started behaving and my plot thickened, those little seeds did what they were supposed to and popped out of the ground, perfect little tomatoes, squash, peas, and beans. I wrapped up the book and off it went, not as perfect as my vegetable plants, but as close as I could make it.
Day One: Eureka! I have this fantastic MC who's sprung from my head and somehow I've linked him with a news article I read a year ago. Run to file (box full of clippings), retrieve article and re-read. So the journey begins.