A Novel Idea

20110907we-relationships-chart-map-showing-many-places-and-peopleBeta readers rock! If you don’t use them, you are really missing out on a wonderful opportunity to get virgin eyes on your work and help you identify strong and weak spots. On my second pass by the alpha reader he saw much improvement in my first crime novel  and I still have a few places that I want to go back and touch up to strengthen a character’s position on certain pertinent matters. So that, along with some beta notes trickling in, is what I have been doing all week.

I have an outline for book two, and another story in my head for book three, but I am feeling a need to break away from this and write something different. I just read a very good “relationship” novel (will tell you more about that later) and I have been mulling over some ideas. It really stimulated me to think about just what comprises a good novel.

Honestly, being human or not, relationships are what most every novel boils down to. The relationship between people and their world, the relationship between lovers, the relationship between individuals, parents, children, siblings, friends, elves, war lords, bad guys, good guys, pets, robots…relationships are what make good novels relate-able.

So I got restrospective and started thinking about all the relationships in my life. There is really some good fodder there. It has not been a typical life, though, but some typical relationship issues were resolved.

The only piece I have really written well in first person was about a gay guy coming to terms with his identity in a community that was less than accepting. I liked the practice of getting into his character, but that story has been done to death.

I am thinking of taking another angle, and writing a piece in first person about a woman who finds herself with two grown children, divorced from a gay guy, and five hundred miles from her home at the age of forty. How she starts over with her life. Having never had her twenties, because of family responsibilities, she suddenly finds herself in a world she has been isolated from for twenty years. She violates the old double standard by trying to juggle relationships.

It sounds sad, but it really isn’t…there would be humorous undertones throughout as she acclimates to a new lifestyle and the dating scene again.

I don’t have a clue what genre it would fit into. Women’s fiction? Chick-lit? I don’t read much in either genre, so I really don’t give a flying flip about rules. I just want to tell the story. The underlying theme is about forgiveness.

I am not one of those paranoid people about sharing unpublished ideas online, because we all have our own ways of telling our stories.

I haven’t made an outline. It’s just a thought. What do you think about it? Boring or interesting? Amusing, maybe?

Any ideas for a working title?

44 thoughts on “A Novel Idea

      1. Ask your blog readers. That’s the joy of it. You don’t choose editors, you get the average Joe (or Jane) to give it an overview. Someone who already expresses an interest in what you write..or book blogger reviewers.


      2. Do a “Call for Beta Readers” post and see if you get any nibbles. Give a book description like you would for a promo blurb and see what happens. I would not go with more than two at a time, it can get overwhelming considering too many people’s ideas about things.


  1. Oh, and there’s nothing wrong with working on more than one thing at the same time. Just so long as it doesn’t become three and four and five things at the same time — that’ll lead to nothing getting done. I know from personal experience. But, work on your crime novels and this new idea. It can help cure writer’s block on one story if you have something else to go to when you got bogged down on the one.


    1. I have another book I got up to 30,000 word on but had to set it aside because it was depressing me emotionally. Writing about mental illness is dark. I don’t think i’ll go back to that one anytime soon.

      The way the crime novels are laid out, I think I can keep working on those, but this new thing will show how laughing at yourself and your mistakes can help you grow. It’s a happy coping theme. I am no comedian (trust me I’ve tried and it is really hard) but I have a character in mind that you’ll just have to laugh at because life throws her some laughable circumstances.


      1. I have my second novel outline done with about two dozen plot points. I am trying to figure out which characters to bring back for book two and which to scrap.


      2. After taking a break to read that relationship novel, I’m back to Naked Alliances. Will hopefully have feedback for you by next weekend if not sooner.


  2. I have half a dozen on the go… when the time seems right I work on what feels right…I’m in no hurry with these. I think you should just start and see where it leads. You’re an excellent storyteller, Susan.


  3. I like the idea, and am a big believer in writing what you’d like to read. I’m a guy, and I like the whole masculine bent on things. When my wife wants to watch a Drew Barrymore film, I like those too. Tom Hanks in space, as Woody, or with Meg Ryan is all good. I like a bit of variety. (‘Cause life is like a box of chocolates. If I didn’t say it, someone else would.)

    The fantasy I’m editing now can get kind of bloody. The one coming after it is suitable for kids. Change it up, and I’ll bet it’s good.


    1. You write lots of things. I admire that you can get a novel idea and go with it, regardless of genre considerations…you just tell your stories. I think that’s great.


      1. I need to learn more about marketing, but that is how I write. People who read science fiction usually read the occasional fantasy. Most of them will dabble with a paranormal story too. I’m not toooo far off the mark.

        You may have given me an idea for today’s blog. I’ll give you a nod in it.


    1. I wholeheartedly agree! Since I retired, most of my inspiration comes from the folk I have met online. The internet has surely changed the way share information, broadened horizons, connected folk. I love it and think I was born at just the right time.


  4. I think your idea for a story is right on the money. Your MCs age is perfect, and you are wide open for her to explore a variety of relationships—as you say, the dating and mistakes and discoveries she should have been doing twenty years earlier. And I agree with those who say forget about the genre. The fact is that publishing today is all about the micro, so I’ll bet someone who writes as beautifully as you do will have people lining up to read it. I’d like to be first in line!

    I should probably do more with beta readers too. I have a couple, plus some amazing CPs, so hopefully that will be enough. (And I’m obviously a complete piker as a writer, because I only have one WIP going now…)


    1. Everything you write is fascinating, so concentrating on one at a time is working for you. I fear that I am going to get too scattered.

      I am also thinking of leaving Scrivener and going back to Word for this piece. Debating that. Scrivener makes editing so much easier, but this is more of a linear write…a panster thing, not a plotter thing. I’ll have to get started and play around to see what works best.


      1. Thanks for those lovely words of praise!

        I’m a total pantser, but somehow I do like the isolation of composing in Storyist. I used MS Office for everything in my professional life—creating policies and proposals and spreadsheets and presentations. So for me, Office still has the potential to be everything and anything. But something written in Storyist looks like a book, and that’s all it could be.

        Or maybe I’m just compulsive.


      2. LOL…what I love about Scrivener is being able to compile a book for my iPad so easily. Also, the binder makes it easy to add and subtract scenes and chapters, move things around.

        I just finished the first half of the first chapter of this new thing today in Scrivener, so I’ll probably keep it there and transfer back to Office when I get ready for final editing.


  5. If you want to write a story, then write it, don’t worry about the genre or ‘rules’ 😀

    Sometimes you just need to break off and write something different, that feels right for you at that time!


  6. I agree with Mishka Jenkins (above). Write the story you want (or feel the need or desire) to write! It’s not the synopsis that you tell people about it, it’s what you do with it.


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