From Idea to Manuscript by Jane Toombs

Hi all. My topic today is discussing how a writer goes from idea to manuscript. The book I’m promoting is Twisted Fayrie Tales, which has some skewed fantasy romances, two of them mine. The first story, “It Can’t Be Mine!” came from reading advice to the lovelorn columns. It struck me how often boyfriends reacted with versions of my story’s title when a girlfriend told them she was pregnant.

Then a what if? popped up. What if? is how many writers get the glimmering of an idea for a story. Mine was what if the guy isn’t human? Well, he could have been a shapeshifter or a vampire, but those guys are sexy. How about a guy humans usually recoil from? How a about a foul-smelling green-skinned ghoul? But then I had to think about the smell. Okay, as a nurse I know cleft palates and/or harelips can be repaired these days will little scarring. But sometimes the genetic damage from the condition does cause a loss of the sense of smell, which can never be regained. Ah, my heroine. But even without being able to smell him, how would she ever be attracted to a ghoul in the first place? So I gave her some nasty friends who like to play jokes on her/ As a result, she thinks this ghoul really is a human made up like one, another of her friend’s jokes. And so I had a beginning.

My second story, “I Holler Oh Hot Dog,” began with an old blues song I heard years ago, but hadn’t thought of for a long time until one morning I woke up with the tune running through my head. I’m sure that’s happened to at least some of you. The lyrics are about a gal who’s got a face like a fish, shape like a frog. But when she loves this guy he hollers, Oh, hot dog! While I struggled to get rid of the tune in my head, I wondered what if? This was harder to figure out. I finally decided the hero had to be a spaceman stranded on an alien planet after his scout ship crashed. And so guess what the scary aliens looked like? How to bring about a romance was a bit harder to figure out.

Any of you want to share?

3 Responses to From Idea to Manuscript by Jane Toombs

  1. Jenyfer Matthews

    I too play “what if” games – but my mind doesn’t follow quite the same paths yours does!! 🙂

    In my next release I thought “what if you went back to your home town and your high school crush was still gorgeous – and available?” and went from there. It was fun!

  2. Val

    I don’t know what a shapeshifter is as am kinda out of the loop and just starting to have time to read again ,my youngest is in 10th grade now and I am online more and joined a few yahoo groups, I am amazed at all the author excerpts and all the new types of romance books. sounds like fun books to read I must say.

  3. Ciara Gold

    Hi Jane, wow sounds like a great premise and very unique and creative. And yep, I agree. The “what if’s” play a major role in figuring out plot. I’m always doing that. Great post.

Back to Top