Since I'm reading Bird by Bird again I'm having fun. Each chapter in this book inspires me and makes me think. When she talks about Polaroids I suddenly had several thoughts. One is that a story starts with an idea that often is hazy and one must wait for the story to develop. The second is that the story doesn't always develop is quite the way I imagined.
I have a series of mysteries. They all began with a hazy idea and a character who leaped into my thoughts. A nurse nearing retirement age. Why did I want to make her into a mystery solver I'm not sure. The story sort of began with an idea of walking on egg shells. I sat down to write. I was going to have murders happen in the hospita.. Suddenly I had a picture of a Victorian house and this great front porch with a swing and a first floor tenant. The story merged from the hospital murders to a neighborhood one.
So you see, the hazy idea when developed became a different story than what I initially thought it would be. The initial picture when developed showed me things differently that first imagines. After finishing the book I knew I'd gone in the right direction. But the idea of murders in a hospital remained in my thoughts and the heroine from that first mystery finally found murder, not in a hospital but in a nursing home. Waiting for the picture to develop gave me two stories instead of one.