Before there can be a story, there needs to be a plot bunny. For some, plot bunnies are easy to come by. For some, it’s getting those bunnies to hop from your head and onto the page that’s tricky.
I rarely struggle for ideas. I’m one of those people who has a whole notebook full of them, but never does anything with them. That was always my thing: bringing the bright ideas to the table with no execution plan. Fortunately, ever since I officially committed to writing I’ve been much more prone to action.
As most writers know, ideas are abundant between midnight and six in the morning. To be clear, that chunk of time is usually meant for sleeping. It’s during the block of time we set aside during the work day that the gears are supposed to get turning, but the Muse has a mind of her own.
How do your ideas come about? What do you do with them once they strike? What’s the craziest middle-of-the-night plots you remember? @TheresaSopko
So, this is how my eureka moments typically go:
I turn off my light and climb into bed. I lie there, messing around on my phone for a good five minutes (unless I fall into a Pinterest spiral). I plug my phone into its charger, turn onto my side, and close my eyes.
And then my head gets noisy.
Before I can even begin to drift, I have to get up three or four times to jot something down in my notebook. Each time I think to myself, “Okay. Last time.”
Eventually, I make it into dreamland. For a little while, at least. At some point in the night, I roll over and dig my phone out from under my pillow. I navigate to my notes, squinting against the glare of the screen, and I type out my genius idea.
In the morning, my genius ideas look like this:
- Children as currency
- A letter
- Call me crazy
- Small deaths
- Building bridges to burn
- Villain and protag were besties, still don’t hate each other, but disagree
- Hit him on his motorcycle with her car
- Stars don’t lie
- I got you
- Off the grid
- A thousand suns
- Takes place in the shower
- She’s been living on the highest shelf
- The eve of me
- She goes away
- Everyone goes away
- Corpse delivers living child
More than half the time, I have no idea what I was on about at three a.m. when I was so sure I had just stumbled upon the next Harry Potter.
True story: I once woke up in the middle of the night, so excited about this idea that I had. I got on my laptop and emailed my friend this loooong, involved email outlining the plot my brilliant story. At the end, I literally said something along the lines of, “Brandi, this is my Fault In Our Stars!”
She texted me in the morning asking how drunk I was when I sent that email. When I went back and reread it, all I could do was laugh. It didn’t make any sense. My amazing idea was all gibberish.
With that being said, not all of my ideas slip away from me through oddly worded, vague notes to myself in the early hours of the morning. Ideas crop up all the time—while I’m doing the dishes, in the middle of a conversation, while thinking about how different a situation could be if only…
Once you open the bunny door, they just hop in at random. Oftentimes when least expected.
How do your ideas come about? What do you do with them once they strike? What are some of the craziest middle-of-the-night plots you can remember?