I think this has to be the most common question asked to all writerkind. And what I want to tell people is “I have no clue! Nowhere!” But that’s not quite true.
My first novel (which can hardly classify as a novel, but I’ll inlcude it) started from watching Merlin. I thought, hey, wouldn’t it be cool if I retold this from a modern perspective, with characters like Morgana le Fay and a modern-day protagonist? Daughter of Merlin was my first go at plot. And it sucked, but I learnt a lot from it.
Next was Hoping for Rain – this began with even less of a plot idea. I was about fourteen when I started, and full of angsty teenage thoughts. I started writing about my life in fictional form, except very exaggerated. But before long I realised that this person I was writing about…she wasn’t me. She was Rain, and so began her story. Hoping for Rain is in its second draft, and unrecognisable from those first angsty scribblings.
My most recent novel, Mutual Weirdness, had very strange beginnings. I was in the car being driven to school, and I had this idea of a girl who ate capsicums like apples. It would be called Ten Weird Things About Me – I was sure of it. And then it changed.
The point I’m trying to make is that ideas evolve. What started as one seedling of an idea can suddenly sprout in ways you never thought possible. When I sit down to write, even if I’ve plotted the entire novel, it’s still an adventure. I think that’s what some people don’t get – the initial idea of a novel is almost indistinguishable from the eventual product.
What do you guys think? Do your ideas always stay constant, or do they change? What about your MC’s?