The curious case of the troublesome Xmas inspiration

I have already written about the awkward tendency of new story ideas to present themselves when I am trying to concentrate on finishing something else, and the unfortunate effect that this has had in the past of meaning I never finish anything. I have been good all year, but I have slipped up big time.

I have a very photogenic sister and for Christmas Eve, she was among the family members visiting. I was happily snapping away to make souvenir pics of all and sundry. Well, one picture in particular of said photogenic sister created a perfect image of a potential fictional character, combining some of my favourite writers’ styles, and heroic characters (and indeed, in some respect I want to write one of those characters better – or at least, more in keeping with my tastes than the original author wrote her). It was too much fun for me not to do it, so I mocked up a book cover art using the photo and created a title for the story, an adventure mystery novel with the title character named after my sister – using the classic format that I complain about here so that the caption across the top ran, “[Sissy North] Investigates…” I gave it a title, thinking of a steampunk or postmodern style, “The Curious Case Of The [Thing] Of [Thing]” which was based on something we’d discussed during her visit, and of course added my own tagline: “A Mystery by Valery North”.

I’m not going to show you the “cover” because (a) it’s a slapdash work of an hour or so, (b) I don’t actually have a model release permission from my sister to use her picture commercially or otherwise, and c) it has her real name on it, and I am still very cautious about sharing stuff like that, especially about other people. I created it to remind myself of the story idea and inspiration for it, when I finally got around to writing it. Bear in mind, I have a different mystery with a different lead character in early development stages, and a relationship drama in the second draft stage, that ought to take precedence.

Well, of course I showed the “cover” to my sister because I thought she would be amused by the idea. This was true. She was so amused that she insists that her next birthday present is to be the completed story.

Great. Talk about making a rod for my own back, huh? I’ve promised to at least get the opening up until the point where [Sissy North] gets unavoidably sucked into the investigation done in time, thus serialising the novel (or, more likely, novella) for her while leaving myself enough braincells to carry on with the other works in progress at the moment, which are already probably more than I can really cope with.

Of course, I am very excited and have spent most of Christmas evening thinking about what might happen in the plot. When it’s finished I will certainly seek Sis’s permission to e-publish it. It may even have a cover similar to the one I made (although I’ll have to find out what legal stuff I need to use her image).


About ValeryNorth

I overthink everything.
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