“When You Get an Idea For a Story … What Do You Do with It?”

adoptingjames

I was asked this question recently by someone who was interested in my wide variety of book genres (prospectively, light fantasy, mainstream, and an upcoming biography, young adult romance, and historical young reader’s).

I love the way this question was carefully formed. It wasn’t the generic, “How do you get ideas for a story?” That’s like asking how I got my naturally dark brown hair, or how I got my rugged good looks, or my sharp flare for sarcasm. I just … have them.

I didn’t ask for a good idea. I just had one. (Okay, there’s an answer here, which I’ll probably go into depth in a different post.)

But back to the question at hand: “When you get an idea … what do you do with it?”

Pixar’s Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, Wall-e) once said in an article that a story is like shaping clay. You work at…

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