Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Tuesday's Inspiration - Mary Higgins Clark - Ideas and Revision
While looking over the book of essays I found one from Mary Higgins Clark that sent my thoughts in two directions. The first was a question so foten asked. "Where do you get your ideas?" I took part on a book signing at the Rockland County, NY Historical Center, one of a number of writers. Now I have a lot of books because I've been writing a long time. Several of the visitors asked me that very question. So hard and so easy to answer. For me the ideas seem to arrive in the air. I'm currently working on the Micro-Manager Murder and that was initially triggered by a friend who had a business partner who did micro-managed her life. Details were this woman's very reason for living. The little things I heard were tucked away in my head. Then another thing I read about drug smuggling popped into my mind. I also had a well established heroine who was getting married. I wanted her to bail out of the reception but I had to find a way. All of a sudden things began to line up and I was able to put them all together. There is a murder, of course. So ideas are all around every writer and it's the use they make of them that sets up the story. An article read in the paper, a news tidbit on TV, an overheard conversation. Finding ideas isn't hard.
The second thing that set me off was the re-writing or revision sentence in the article. I'm a re-writer and a reviser. Many drafts are done but how does one know when enough is enough. For me it's when I start changing one verb for another and then put it back. It's also this feeling that if I look at this story one more minute I'm going to be sick. Then I know I'd better send it off to someone.
Back to Mary Higgins Clark. I seldom write suspense but there is suspense in my stories. I think I've read all of her books and I've learned a lot about writing from reading many of her stories. So I'd just like to give her a thanks for many days of good reading and of the times I've re-read her stories to discover how she did one little thing.