I can’t be sure if it is just that I feel super lethargic and just bleh the last few days or if it is because it’s the middle of the month and I’ve hit a routine sorta now but my creative muse is running at a very low-level. Yesterday was a great example, I mean I went back and read that piece after I copied/pasted and posted and while I still like what I did at heart there I found things I really wish I had done differently. Sinking back into the tone and place I was in when I was writing last year is hard to do, and I can’t for the life of me explain why. That story last year had been one that had been hanging with me for a couple of years already and I was excited to develop it more over the month of November. I had some pretty crap writing days where I was sure all of it sucked but I kept whatever I wrote because it was more to that story and those characters than I had bothered with before.
But then I come back to the present and try to think of prompts and ideas to write daily since I still haven’t received any and I feel like I am starting to go in circles. I know I said the other day I am not a big sappy wedding/proposal person (and that is fact) but I am a big time fan of love stories. They are my favorite to read and fun for me to write and create, but it just feels like all my ideas lately come back to a couple already deep in love and having a moment or people coming together to start a loving relationship. And it’s not that it is a horrible thing but it gets a little stagnant, both for me and for the people who are kind enough to bother reading these things.
And so then I go off in search of something to inspire me to write a non-love based piece and nothing jumps at me or interests my muse and I get frustrated fast because it’s usually already kinda late in the day (like right now) to be just fiddling around. It’s a highly annoying cycle I’ve fallen into and while I know complaining will not help in the slightest I just feel like I need to do it for now. I mean if y’all don’t mind reading little love stories day after day till the end of November maybe I’ll stop beating myself up and just go with it, but I like to try to offer a little bit of variety too.
That being said, for today I thought I’d dig out my “idea notebook” and grab one to…explain a little further than an initial concept. So it won’t be writing so much as me telling you about something I could later write about and trying to pin down a few more details and plot points about it that maybe I hadn’t known existed till I thought about the idea a little more. So let’s proceed…
I’ll start with just my jotted down notes to give a grasp of the very basics.
- Older woman (upper 50’s?) loses her husband
- Starts to see him after. Can talk and communicate with his soul/ghost.
- Some family/friends get concerned when she speaks of it. But she refuses to disbelieve it’s real.
- In her stubbornness she stays loyal to him & has this pseudo-relationship with him.
Alright so it’s a little out of my usual comfort zone of what could be considered YA fiction, but it’s right there in that love/relationship zone I prefer to exist in. The idea originally came to me the February after grandpa passed and my grandma as still living alone at home. She would tell us when we were with her that grandpa had woken her up and ate breakfast with her, like all was normal, but she would acknowledge he was gone or say it was just for the morning. Sometimes he just sat with her when she read or relaxed in their living room, said goodnight when she went off to bed. It was never these grandiose things, just little moments they shared like he/his soul was keeping an eye on her. Some of my family got all worried and thought they needed to constantly tell her that didn’t happen or it “wasn’t real” and here I am a person who believes fully in spirits and ghosts so I just went with it. I thought it was hella sweet. Plus it is completely something my grandpa would have done so it made perfect sense really.
But my grandma was 92 at the time and I thought bringing the characters age down a few decades would a) make her more accessible in a way and b)easier for me to write. Not to mention I knew I didn’t want to end the novel with her death, to reunite this couple in the afterlife and all that. I wanted a character who lived and we got to experience this chapter in her life with her. I wanted her to be unrelenting and unforgiving in the way she believed and gave herself to this relationship with the soul/ghost of her late husband and be okay with having just that.
I know it’s sometimes more about seeing the character grieve, have maybe a little “insanity” but eventually come to terms and move forward with their lives, and those are great and powerful stories, but I just didn’t want to write that. I completely loved the way my grandma was like, “Nah you guys are all silly I can see my husband and that’s enough for me.” Maybe that makes me crazy or unrealistic but I don’t particularly care. It’s the idea that their love and bond was so incredibly strong and real that not even death could break it or keep them apart that for me would just make a really great read.
As far as names…I didn’t bother to think any up. But now that I am here writing I think Mary would be good for the main character, it was my grandma’s middle name and since she’s based on her that feels right. Which of course would make the late husband Leonard, which I’ve used that name before on male characters because I love it, my grandpa had like the most adorable, classic, old man name ever; Vincent Leonard. It’s too freaking cute and so I never tire of using either for male character names. I am thinking kids, probably three, my grandparents had four but not everything has to be related or similar to them, and of course a group of friends since they and their eventual concern for Mary would be a major plot point.
Leonard’s passing could be anything; a car accident to a terminal disease or just a sort of random event that takes him. I haven’t thought that part out too much because I don’t want the act of it to feel heavy or more important than other things. I would want to focus more on the after so it would be somewhat minor despite being sort of the catalyst for the overall story. It’s also a little outside my wheelhouse to do a supernatural element so I know I would need to do some research on how to approach that so I make it as good as it truly as the potential to be.
I’d also need to know and build Mary and Leonard’s relationship in very detailed ways, which I personally think would be some of the most fun while constructing this world. I would need to almost draw out a timeline to follow so when writing them interacting after he has passed it matches the rest and feels more like a continuation of them rather than a fresh start or new thing with them.
Time wise, I think I’d like to start with the idea of being with Mary for a full year at least. Give it time to let us see her in many states; grieving, adjusting, finally seeing Leonard, adjusting to that, fighting off anyone telling her it’s “not healthy” that she needs to “move on”, and coming to terms with herself what it means to keep up this lifestyle and relationship for the rest of her life. I also don’t want she and Leonard to ignore the fact he is no longer of his Earth, of the living. I want that conversation to happen and I want it to be always present or that they are always aware, they don’t fool themselves into thinking it’s like before his passing but to also feel content and comfortable in the situation.
My endgame/end point would be to see Mary reach a point where she is happy; both without Leonard and with him. To not back down from the people telling her it’s not real or unhealthy, to never believe them in the slightest and to understand that this might be something she can’t share with anyone but Leonard. To live her life as normal as one can after losing your husband but also being able to still have his soul/ghost in your life.
So yeah…it’s a little different maybe, at least for me, but at the same time it’s a story I would read too. I think it has merit to be a decent story to tell, and of course because I have a sentimental attachment I feel a little more strongly about it and the characters. I don’t know, maybe I’ll let is simmer some more and try to write it for NaNoWriMo next year. I just don’t think it’s an idea that will ever not be at the back of my head.
Hopefully tomorrow I can provide something in the form of writing I’ve done recently, I’ll be crossing my fingers anyways.