When I give presentations, I talk about the act of writing a novel as analogous to dragging a magnet across a table full of paper clips. (Why you would want to do such a thing, I don’t know, but just go with it.) By the time you’re done, you’ve got a bunch of paper clips stuck to your magnet, and that’s your novel.
For The Weird Sisters, one of the paper clips was birth order. Another was what it means to be an adult. And breast cancer. And family communication. And the power of our names. And Shakespeare.
You get the idea.
I wish I had a great story about being struck by lightning with an idea for any of my novels, but that never seems to happen to me. I just plod away, collecting paper clips, until I have enough to make a novel. Without enough paper clips, your novel will suffer from a saggy middle, or be too dull to even bother finishing. Too many paper clips, and you’ll just end up confusing people.
So I can’t say I had a big idea.
But I do have something even better. We’re working on cleaning out my parents’ house, and my mother and I were going through some family silver when we came across my very favorite piece of all. A very, very big spoon.
That is next to a normal-sized spoon, just to give you some perspective. We offered the other silver pieces to my cousins and sisters, but that spoon was ALL MINE.
Are you ever struck by a big idea, or do ideas tend to come together, like paper clips sticking to a magnet?*
*Alternately, you can just comment and tell me how awesome my big spoon is. Because it is really, really awesome.