Q&A Part 14: What do I do when I get a new idea?

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@gothamroses asks: How do you approach a new idea? Do you let it settle, start outlining or just dive into writing?

Great question! 

When I get a new idea, I have to think about it. A lot. And sometimes, the idea goes away. That's okay. It wasn't meant to be. 

If an idea doesn't get out of my head, I usually start thinking of how I can put my own spin on it--usually, how can I give this a twist? I think of the ending. I don't write it--I think of it. If it's a murder mystery, like Across the Universe, then it's a matter of adding my spice--setting it in space--and finding the solution to the mystery. I knew who was unplugging the cryogenic chambers before I started writing. I didn't necessarily know how or even why, but I knew who. 

For A World Without You, I knew the twist, that Bo, who thinks he's a superhero in training, was actually at a school for mentally disturbed youth. But as I was developing it, I realized that wasn't the twist at all. It was the whole premise. The twist was, could Bo break out of the cycle? Could Bo survive? That's what the endgame became. Because even as I was writing it, I didn't know. I didn't. And I wrote two endings. You'll have to read the book to find out which ending became the story.

The writing for me is about discovery. I discover the plot as the characters do. That's the fun part. So I don't know everything, I don't outline, I discover. But I have an endgame in mind. 

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