Around 4:30 this morning, the sound of a low-flying plane penetrated my grogginess. I was awake, sort of. I tend to wake at 4 these days, but since it was so cold, I wasn’t ready to get out of bed. I hovered between reality and dreams and listened to the drone of the small-engine overhead as it Doppler-effected itself to the southwest.
The last time I heard a low drone like that, it was in broad daylight, and the twin-prop engine was flying in concentric circles over our neighborhood–law enforcement in search of a rumored marijuana patch. So as I listened this morning, I envisioned that pilot, tilting his wings with each circle, spotting something curious here, then there. I imagined a dialogue between him and some distant federal agent, conducted through a crackling headset. But I already knew how that story played out. Yes–almost 20 years ago, we had a drug bust in my little rural neighborhood. Something about being hidden in a forest makes people feel isolated, invisible to cops and other prying eyes. This fact alone makes the neighborhood a rich source of story ideas.
I drifted from thought to thought, picturing other things: the balsa-wood model planes we used to put together as kids. I came up with a story about a youngster playing with one, pretending to be an ace pilot. (By the way–who knew Big Stock Photo would have just the picture I needed?!)
This morphed into a barn storming story, probably prompted by scenes from Second-Hand Lions and KM Weiland’s upcoming novel Storming (which I wish she’d hurry up and finish editing. I swear, that woman stretches anticipation to the limit).
Then I shifted to a story of a hero pilot, saving his plane from terrorists by flying with one hand and wrestling with a bad guy with the other. Then, he sneaks up behind the BG’s cohorts as they point guns at horrified passengers–and all the while, the plane is dropping lower, lower, lower.
He rounds them all up, ties them together with a man’s red silk tie, and rushes back to the cockpit to save the plane, while radioing in about the emergency landing he has to make because a woman went into labor. Then, of course, he overshoots the landing strip because he’s too busy delivering the baby.
Do you see my problem here? Not one of these scenarios involve romance. They could, I suppose, but that’s not where my brain settles when I’m daydreaming. This can not be good for a Romance/Women’s Fiction author!
And this is also what I mean by “misbehaving.” This is why I want to write in so many different genres. Yes, they usually include romance–life includes love: searching for it, running from it, falling in it. You can’t escape that. But meanwhile, I want to write the blood-pumping story of a cocky pilot hero or the nostalgic tale of a boy with big dreams of flying, back in the days of bi-wing planes, dime-a-rides, and barn storming. I have the hardest time sticking to one genre.
But I promised myself I would for a while.
It’s so much more fun to misbehave.