Monday, July 02, 2007
BOM: How the Idea Germinated
HOW'd the idea for THE ELEVATOR germinate? Easy—from the cover of Nick Hornby’s A Long Way Down. I had picked up that book for my book club to read, and I found myself staring at the cover, which featured the shoes of four different people against a background of sky.
From hearing about Hornby's book, I knew it was about four people who meet on a rooftop on New Year's Eve--they're all planning to commit suicide, but since the roof's a little crowded, they come down and form a sort of club.
Before I ever read Hornby's book, I began to think about people trapped in a crucible . . . like an elevator. I remember standing in middle school Sunday school, surrounded by dozens of screaming kids, and asking some adult friends about who might make up an interesting cast. Decided that four people--four backstories, four histories--would be a little awkward. Three is always a better number.
And though being trapped in an elevator would be tense, what would make the situation worse? Maybe the arrival of a hurricane? Next thing I knew, I pretty much had the plot synopsis in my head. All that remained was working it out . . . and finding a way to keep a reader’s attention (a bit of a challenge when most of the book is set in an elevator!)
And that's how it came about. Sometimes the best plots are the simplest. Three women, all involved with the same man, trapped together and fighting for their lives.
Tomorrow: The research