(Below is part two of my novel writing adventure. Which story idea do you like best? Thanks for walking with me on this journey.)
Good novels are created from good ideas. Sometimes the thought of conjuring up a good idea can be quite intimidating. How many times have I sat down to write, only to stare at a blank page, waiting for the perfect idea to magically pop into my head. The minutes pass and with every tic of the clock my frustration mounts; and on and on it goes until a pen or two is tossed across the room.
Lucky for me, module two of “The Novel Class” is all about developing good ideas and strong plots. Ideas are all around us; sort of hidden in plain sight. The key to scoping them out is to notice…notice…notice. Keep your writer’s instinct sharpened, play the “what if” scenario 24/7, and always remember “Life is stranger than fiction.” According to “The Novel Class,” drop dead plots and murderous ideas are just waiting to be captured from our everyday and presumably boring lives.
The class encourages the writer (me) to adopt a “god-like complex” in which you tease the reader with hints and you control your characters by making them bend to your every whim. I’ve never been a control freak, but damn, I have say, I really like the way that sounds! The very power of appointing myself the god of my own make-believe world propels me head first into the throes of intoxication. This very concept changes the whole appeal of fiction writing. It makes me want to release an evil laugh and whisper, “…let me at’em…”
(Module two of “The Novel Writing Class” assigns me to: Task 1: Create three story ideas that you feel may have potential for a novel. Also Task 2: Consider sub-stories that could be included in all three of your ideas.) (I have chosen to keep my sub plots secret. I hope you enjoy!)
1st Story Idea: I Want To Live
Amy, artist/writer/teacher, accepts a position teaching Medieval Art History at a small community college located just outside of Washington DC. Unbeknownst to her, one of her students is a serial killer who has stalked, captured and killed eight women. Amy becomes his next fixation.
Like Amy, all of his victims were in their mid to late twenties, well educated, and enjoyed very successful careers. All eight bodies were found mutilated and floating dead within stagnant ponds across the state of Virginia.
Amy soon awakens to find herself suspended in darkness, hanging like a piece meat in an old root cellar, located in the back-country of the Shenandoah National Forest.
Amy wants to live and vows to do whatever necessary to escape the horrific nightmare.
2nd Story Idea: The Cabin’s Rule
Newlyweds, Sam and Candy, are young, practically homeless and poor as Job’s turkey. They are in love and refuse to let present circumstances dampen the happiness they feel at becoming husband and wife.
Sam’s an hourly employee at Gibbons Hardware Store and works 6 long days a week. Sam is surprised when “old man Gibbons,” the owner and boss, offers the use his lake cabin for their honeymoon. Sam and Candy, not wanting to spend their wedding night, in the spare bedroom at Candy’s mother’s house, gratefully accept.
Sam’s old pickup sputters angrily cursing the dirt path beneath it’s tires. Upon arrival they are, at first, disheartened with the cabin’s appearance of disarray and abandonment; however, still “high on love” the two quickly push up their sleeves and by nightfall the cabin becomes a quint honeymoon haven, complete with cracking fire and stone hearth.
Their night of bliss begins and in their abandonment they fail to notice the little hints and nuances suggesting something strange about the cabin. Soon they discover something ancient living within the walls of the cabin and become crippled with fear when they realize what “it” wants.
The horror within the cabin pits one against the other as they struggle for survival.
It seems old man Gibbons forget to share the cabin’s rule: Two may enter but only one may leave.
3rd Story Idea: The Witch Hunt Of Lilly
Lilly lived in the forest with her mother outside of the village. The village folk came one by one to their stone house seeking healing from Lilly’s mother. Lilly inherited the ability of healing and so after the unexpected death of her mother, it was only natural that she follow in her footsteps.
At the age of eighteen, Lilly lives alone in her beloved woods and gladly welcomes anyone who knocks at her door. Most of those knocks belong to people seeking healing or future telling; however, on occasion young girls caught in the “motherly way” seek her help for quick and private resolution. Lilly, with her kind heart, never turns them away. As she bonds with the young women they begin to share their stories of rape, incest and oppression that lay behind the walls of the village.
The puritan village tolerates Lilly and her strange ways…for even some of the clergy find themselves at her door in the darkness of night. This continues until one of town’s children disappear and it’s proven that Lilly was the last one to see the child alive.
All eyes turn to Lilly and the witch hunt begins!