Shiny, New, and Oh-So-Real

Have you ever had anyone ask where your ideas come from? If you’re a writer (who admits to it publicly) the answer is “of course.” (At the Texas Book Festival, Brian Yansky answered this question by referring seekers to a small store in Marfa, Texas, where inspiration is always in stock. Be warned, Marfa-ites: Uninspired Writers are coming. Go read his post about his answer – very wise.)

Me? I have plenty of ideas, probably too many – I could open my own store right by my house and sell the extra ones, the ones I’ll never have time to address, to writers who have skillz but no ideaz. (Do such people exist? I suppose I was one of them, once upon a time. Back in grad school, maybe, when I had the chops but no passion. Oh, for a time machine! I could use all those childless years to churn out manuscript after manuscript, saving up for the seven years of famine that I swear to Gosh I did NOT know came out with the first kid.)

My most recent idea is, to use a phrase from a book/movie I adore, preciousssss to me. It’s so real, I can taste it on my tongue when I think about it, which is often. This book tastes like buttermint, the soft yellow ones you used to only get at weddings and memorial services. Every time I think of it, this story makes a small, soft, lemon-yellow melty place in my heart.

I have fallen in love again. Does it happen like this for you? True love, complete with the hope that you will be worthy of your beloved, the fear that you might not tell it right, that you might not understand it enough, be gentle enough, to pin its butterfly wings to the paper just so…

Of course, you only ever get one of these ideas when you’re in the thick of another manuscript, one who was beautiful when you started, but now has thick ankles and bad skin, smacks its teeth when it watches TV and forgets to hang up its coat. But you’ve spent so long with it, you can’t let it go, can’t date around, until the final papers are signed. There’s only one way to get out of it with your self-esteem intact, and that’s through. And woe be unto you who jump ship early – the Muse will know, and will send you to Writer’s Hell, the ninth level where no story gets finished, and you flail around in a churning sea of unrealized ideas for eternity. (If you’ve ever done this, you know what I mean. This is the Muse’s way of making us finish the book you’re on, so you can get to the new, vital, heart-meltingly gorgeous story that’s waiting.)

Sigh. I don’t know why you all come here, to read about my (more than slightly narcissistic) love affairs. But I’m grateful you do, in the same way a mother with hundreds of photos of her newborn baby  – from the ultrasound on up – is grateful for the friend who expresses interest in seeing every last one.

Oh, Friends! I can’t wait to show you the new one, even though it’s not even started. January, I think. It’s a contemporary fable, a fairy tale re-imagined, a picture book grown into something altogether… more.

Are you in love with an idea? And if you are, do you make it wait its turn? I won’t ask where you get your inspiration; I already know it comes from a store in Marfa.

Note: I am reading a manuscript for a friend right now that is one of the best YA Urban Fantasies I’ve seen, published or unpublished. I am stunned, continually amazed at her writing, pacing, plotting, everything. I love YA UF, read it a lot – but this one, if I can convince my friend to polish it up and send it out, will make some agent and editor very, very happy. I will refer to this post in the future so I can be known as the Mommy Fortuna of this book.

Posted in Children's Fiction, Miscellaneous on 10/29/2010 12:38 pm


  1. Another love affair? You really get around. Yep, I’m in love too and, yes, I am making it wait its turn. BTW, it’s so great you are enjoying your friend’s MS. I’ve got a crit. partner who is writing something I adore and it’s so wonderful to see how her writing took off in this one.


    • Nikki Loftin

      Lori, I feel so guilty. I’m two-timing my WIP. I can’t stop writing them both! Sigh. You know where good intentions get ya, right? 😉
      It is great to watch your friend’s art bloom, isn’t it? (*waiting for Lori’s next MS*)


  2. Ah…that ninth level of writer’s hell…I’ve been there. But I guess we all have. And I’ve fallen in love too. Congrats on your new idea, discovering something wonderful in your writing buddy’s manuscript and writing another great blog post. 🙂


    • Nikki Loftin

      Oh, Nan! If you’re in love, there must be a really special book coming… send me a chapter if you can! *hug*


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