Aug 4, 2017

Inspiration and planning

5 comments

What exactly inspired you to write I'm not a stalker? How long did it take to plan Hunter's emails?

Aug 7, 2017

Oh... this is a difficult question to answer! Lol. The short answer to #1 is that it was an experiment. The short answer to #2 is "a long time." ;) If that satisfies your curiosity, you can stop there! Otherwise, prepare to read a long explanation!

 

I'm Not a Stalker originally came from an attempt to write a super-charged teen fiction story. I had been sort of studying what readers on Wattpad seemed to really like in terms of teen fiction, and I thought, "Hey, I think I can do that!" I compiled a list called something like "Code for Rocking It in Teen Fiction on Wattpad" ... (I don't remember exactly but I did give it a name. Lol.) This list contained all of the common elements I found in the top stories trending in the genre. (I won't share it here... it's sort of top-secret! ;) ) But here's the important part: Next I asked, "How can I do this BETTER and IN MY OWN WAY?"

 

I didn't want to just copy someone else's success or sell out or otherwise "cheat" the system. I just wanted to craft something awesome that I knew readers would like, based on my research. From that, the idea of a romance where two people fell in love via email was born. And then I thought it would be cool to just tell the story completely through e-mails. I thought it would be different, and interesting, and fun to write. So that's what I did. The initial version only had a tiny bit of interaction from the classmates, but when I sent the first few chapters to my Beta Readers (who were some of my awesome students!), one of them said, "I want to see more of the classmates." So I sat down to plan that in.

 

At this point, THERE WAS NO SECRET ADMIRER. *Gasp!* It was just the humiliating email and then the two gradually falling in love via messages. And it was... boring. So I decided to plan in more interaction from the classmates to spice it up. I created them as more rounded-out characters, and then I made an insane color-coded storyboard of when emails from each character would pop into the story. And then, as I was standing in front of my chaotic planning board, suddenly the idea of a secret admirer mystery struck me. But I had seen that done before. I wanted this to be different, something uniquely me. And you know what I'm good at? Detailed planning. Like, overwhelming, intricate detail. (That's why my tagline is now "Meticulous Creativity." ;) )

 

So I thought... let's DO THIS. I am going to make the secret admirer a mystery, but there will also be a hidden code within the mystery that's right there the whole time. I sat down again to plan out all 31 messages in painstaking detail. This took days, and I am pretty sure my husband thought I was crazy since I freaked out when someone almost erased part of the whiteboard on which I'd written out the clues and guesses. But then I turned back to my color-coded storyboard and added cards for when each of those messages would come into the stream of the story. This COMPLETELY TRANSFORMED THE STORY, and it became what it is today. And then I spent weeks actually writing all the messages and making sure all the characters were well-rounded and consistent in how they messaged, etc. and that the story arc of the romance played out correctly. So... yeah. That's how it happened. :)

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