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Genesis of an Idea

January 10, 2007
Posted at 5:49 pm

One of the most fascinating elements of writing for me is how a story morphs and changes from the moment of first conception to the birth of the final edit and posting. The process is not always the same, but it is always a wild ride.

In the case of Fool's Gold, the initial idea came from a consideration of the strength of second relationships, particularly between the cheating spouses. I wondered what affect it would have on the new relationship. If you go into a marriage knowing that your new spouse is willing to cheat, is it possible to ever develop the trust necessary to make a marriage work?

This initial thought morphed into a consideration of trophy wives. Once again, I wondered about the potential strength of that type of marriage. I then started to wonder about the first wife and the idea of the "pre-emptive strike".

It was with these thoughts in mind that I started Fool's Gold. I was planning a typical "life lived well" type of tale, but as it developed, I started to include the idea of a wife who got suspicious that she was being dumped and slowly but surely fell into the type of behavior she was fighting.

The second love affair and the eventual reconciliation came as the process went on. I knew I wanted Bill to grow and be happy in his new life and contrast this with the failure of Anne's new love affair. I also wanted to explore the idea of shared custody, but I wasn't sure if the story would end in reconciliation. I didn't know how the story would end until I started to write the last chapter. I could see it going both ways.

As for Jean, I wanted a twist that was something a little different. I didn't want the second woman to stand aside as she helps the husband realize he was still in love with his first wife. That has been done very well before and I didn't think I had anything new to add. It wasn't until I got to Laura's house for Thanksgiving that I thought of the idea of someone from outside pointing out the similarities between Jean and Anne. Having Jean leave him because she was not sure of his feelings was a nice twist that I hadn't seen before.

I didn't end up writing the story I expected. The characters took me to places I couldn't imagine when I started to write. I guess I can't wait until the next journey.