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The Birth of a Twist: How I Came Up with Stitch

Note: This guest post was originally posted on 11/19/12 at another blog, but that blog has since closed down.  I decided to move the text here since I thought this might be valuable as a resource to other writers.

As you may have guessed from the book’s synopsis, Stitch isn’t your everyday paranormal romance story.  Though it starts out with an infatuation between a college girl, Alessa, and the handsome ghost that frequents her sorority house, the plot actually goes much deeper than that.  In fact, nothing in Stitch is quite what it seems.  And when you hit the twist, you’ll learn – along with the “ghost,” Isaac, and Alessa themselves – that these characters are trapped in a dangerous conspiracy that will have them fighting for their lives.  The revelation is SO huge that it actually thrusts the book into a whole other genre, which is something that many readers have commented they’ve never even seen before.

As a result, a lot of readers have had questions about how the idea for the twist came about.  Was it planned all along or did it come to me after I started writing the story?  Where did I get the idea?  Why did I decide to go this path?

To shed some light on how the idea for the twist in Stitch was born, I think it would be best to take you through my experience from beginning to end.  I decided somewhere around Thanksgiving of last year that I might want to try my hand at writing a book.  There were various reasons for this – 1) I’d always wanted to, 2) I recently changed careers from software engineering to freelance writing and was feeling more confident in my abilities after a year of practice, 3) I waiting for my wedding the following September and had already finished 90% of the planning and thought I might go crazy if I didn’t find some way to pass the time…  You get the idea.

So then the question was: what would I write about?  To figure this out, I combed my list of favorite books/movies/shows and pulled out elements that I loved: paranormal romance a la Twilight, dystopian settings like The Hunger Games, strong female leads (thank you, Jane Austen!), epic sci-fi/fantasy adventure series (Harry Potter, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Eragon, Lord of the Rings), the knock-your-socks-off twist you didn’t see coming (Game of Thrones, Lost, The Sixth Sense, etc.).  And then I thought: how can I fit these things into my book?

I began with the idea of a paranormal romance.  I thought that a ghost romance might be a fresh take after all the vampire/werewolf popularity of late, and I’d always been fascinated by ghosts, so that seemed a good place to start.  But there is one huge problem with a love story between a ghost and a living person: how do you finally unite them in the same place at the same time?  Yes, I could have just made it work despite the confines of time and space, or I could have brought in some kind of time travel element, but those weren’t ideas that really appealed to me too strongly.  For my first book, I wanted to write about something that excited me on a visceral level, something that as a reader, I would DIE for more of.

And that’s when it occurred to me.

No, I’m not going to tell you right here what the twist is about – you’ll have to read it for yourself! – but I will tell you that when the idea finally came to me, I couldn’t WAIT to write it.  It brought in ALL of the elements that I love in one story, in a way that was just crazy enough to be believable.  And even better, it gave me SO much more about this world to reveal in the second and third books of the trilogy.

So a little imagination, a little luck, and a refusal to settle until I’d found an idea I loved – that’s how Stitch was born!

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