Monday, June 30, 2008

And the old new thing too

I was just wondering where my ideas come from, because I actually have another plotlet percolating around that's a few years old. I wrote half a chapter for this one before it fizzled into nothing. I still think about it from time to time, but I doubt it will ever go anywhere.

I think sometimes my ideas start with something as insubstantial as "Hmm, what would happen if..." and then take off from there. (Or not.) That occasionally seems a tad lame to me, like real writers have fully formed outlines appearing in their heads all the time, or complete subplots that come to them in dreams. I'm sure "What if...?" inspires more stories than just mine, but sometimes I wonder if I'm doing it wrong.

Anyway, this old new thing was my attempt to have a male protagonist for once. All my protagonists are female, mostly because girls are cool and awesome, and it's more interesting to have a women doing the same thing a guy might do.

I don't remember where this particular idea came from, or when, but it probably sprang from my burgeoning interest in British royalty. My hero's father was the governor, backed the winning Presidential candidate, and was rewarded with an ambassadorship to the UK. Hero goes to Jolly Olde with his family, attends the new school, meets a cute shy girl who likes him back...and then he discovers she's the King's granddaughter.

Even to me that sounds like a Lifetime movie for teens, but I liked where the ideas in my head were taking me, especially when they're both kidnapped by an IRA splinter group in retaliation for...something or other. Excitement and romance ensue.

It'll never happen, mostly because I could never figure out what happened between the meet cute and the abduction, or between the abduction and the rescue. And this is what happens sometimes when you try to base a plot structure on an interest in peerage, British culture, and the Act of Settlement 1701: nothing happens. Or not enough happens. Certainly not enough to fill a YA book, let alone the three books my fevered imagination was dangling before my eyes, especially after [plot point] happens at one point and the hero's girlfriend is suddenly, at seventeen, Queen of England.

I suppose the New Thing didn't grow out of an idea any more substantial than that one, but the NT isn't much more than a romance I'm trying to make a little unique. All it requires is to be interesting and well written. The England thing, being a good example of high concept, is in addition to all that required to not be silly or implausible, which is where I think it began to fall apart.

Silly and implausible can be overcome, but it takes more than the effort I was putting in. And so the idea withered and now exists as half a chapter, and some extra scenes. RIP.

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