And Then THEY Showed Up!

I was getting a pedicure (the rest of me might look like a tousled mess, but my nails are always immaculate) and talking on the phone to a fellow writer, consultant and dear friend.  I was telling her about how I was bringing one fiction series to a close because I was out of ideas for a Book 12.  “I can’t force a new plot line without feeling like it’s contrived,” I said.

The next phase of our conversation was about her job-hunting efforts.  She interviewed for a senior position with a 22-year-old company.  The CEO was its entrepreneurial founder, and long story short, they offered her the job, which she said she had to think about.  The fit didn’t seem right.  The founder appeared under-invested in improvements and/or fast-tracking for a sale, not what my growth-inspired friend wanted to take on.

What I heard on my side boiled down to, “Christmas trees, decorating, and a consultancy approach to improving things.”  Turns out I heard part of that wrong, but that didn’t matter.

I let my mind wander, not thinking about our discussion, other than to marvel at the peculiarities of the job market for 50-somethings in her area.  I got home, edited Book 11 of the series, made dinner, and sat down for the evening.

And BOOM – THEY showed up.

You know who I’m talking about.  The unexpected visitor ringing your subconscious doorbell and yelling, “Hey.  HEY!!!  You need to write about us!!!”

The tiniest germ of an idea came from what we discussed.  Her, a consultant who, even in an employee situation, can’t help trying to make things more efficient and effective.  Christmas trees, which immediately turned into a Christmas tree farm I used to frequent.  A disinterested or disenchanted boss, saddled with something that did not bring him passion.

“Hhmmm,” Subconscious said to Conscious.  “What if… the heroine is someone seeking a job and comes to the farm to buy her tree and can’t help but lecture the flawed and conflicted hero running the place about improvements he could make, based on what she’s seen there in all of the years she’s been coming, and the hero is the middle son of a local family who inherited the farm and is running it without a clue because he doesn’t know what else to do with his life now that he’s no longer his secret government job?”  Subconscious has a way of blurting these things out without pausing for breath, making Conscious’s head spin.

I texted my friend, first called her the devil incarnate, and thanked her.

I have a Book 12!

How do inspirations hit you?  Ton of bricks?  Sidling in on sneaky feet?  Outright declarations?  I’d love to hear about it!