You Can Write A Lot Of Story, Based On A Little Idea.
From The Desk of Liz Ensley:
I have tried plotting out a novel, but the characters always get in the way of the action. *snicker* Not always, but it is not the same thing as when writing a short story, where you often deal with one simple idea and run with it. I think that is why they tell you to expect to change your outline several times while writing.
Take April Fools. I knew what I wanted to write, but the words would not come, so I had to resort to an analysis of the story I wanted to tell. I don't know if anyone else has this particular problem but, when planning a novel, I have a tendency to overplot. It seems that I did the same thing with my ideas for this novel. There was a little too much happening, with the different characters and the conception, for one book to do the story proper credit.
The idea became one for a trilogy. Fine: but the words still were not coming. I had written a few scenes, but nothing major, nothing that really sparked for me. When I analyzed the best of these scenes, I realized I needed a minor character as a foil to help add interest to it, one that could interact with my character and, perhaps, make the story a little less—boring, is the word that I am inclined to use, though I do not know if that properly expresses the feeling behind it. It was an okay scene, but it had the potential to be so much more than that. There was a missing element that I could not place my finger on.
Finally, I hit on it. A talking staff. But what were the reasons behind the talking staff? That was a bit of a puzzle.
In a nutshell, with what I learned about the character, and how he had come to this stage (and you will note that the staff is no longer an "it"), he's not only become the alpha character of the trilogy, but also adds the proper impetus for the story. The idea, generated by all this brainstorming, had been born, and had won out.