Sometimes I scrape the bottom of the barrel for these Throwback Thursdays. Not because the pool of old ideas/excerpts is dwindling, but I’m encroaching upon stories that I may still write one day. I try to keep my Throwback Thursdays very noncommittal. Very “well this is something I worked on as a kid and I’ll either be really vague about it so it can’t be ganked, or it’s too dumb/derivative to ever visit again.”
“Thin Air” is one of those concepts that may be worth pursuing for me, eventually. But if I’m honest with myself, I wouldn’t be terribly upset if anyone came along and stole the concept. Yes, it’s been in my prompt notebook for 10 years. Yes, it’s got that marketable YA paranormal romance thing going on. But if I was really passionate about it, it would be written by now. So what will happen will happen and I don’t mind telling you about it!
I never actually wrote this book – any of it. I never even gave the characters names. It was always just a concept, but it’s a concept that I’ve never let go of.
Basically, in the 1980’s, a depressed student publically ends his life by jumping off the roof of his high school. The small town mourns, they erect some memorials in his name, and everyone moves on. Except him. Because rather than going to some sort of afterlife, or vanishing into oblivion, he becomes a ghost tied to the school.
For the next twenty-five years, this guy haunts the hallways, invisible to all human eyes. For the first few years, he tries escaping – but the pull of the campus is magnetic. By the time the 21st century rolls around, he settles into playing pranks on bullies, maybe saving a few nerds from the mean kids. He sees everything and, in his own strange way, becomes a guardian angel for the teenage underdogs. All the while, no one can see him or know he’s there.
That all changes when, for the first time ever, someone sees him.
Of course it’s a girl. Of course she falls in love with him, and he with her. And she probably seems normal on the outside but she’s got some underlying issue that he has to help solve, and it probably ends with him being liberated from his ghost life. And then it’s sad cause they loved each other and all, but the only way it CAN end is with him moving “into the light.” And I feel like it would be important for the girl to have a life after him, you know, carrying with her the changes he helped her make. But it’s not like she defines herself by him. She has to be able to live without him
I can almost guarantee this story has been written by someone at some point. Beautiful Creatures is pretty close, and I’m sure there are dozens more. And for now, I think YA paranormal romance is saturating the market to the point where an agent won’t even look at it. There’s nothing much about this concept that’s unique, but wouldn’t it have been interesting if I wrote it about 10 years ago? Maybe if I’d been older and more skilled? Something like this might have been swooped up in that craze.
The most interesting thing to take out of this is – write what you want to write and don’t censor your ideas. Your random plot bunnies could fall into the Next Big Trend. There will certainly be novels that you write which will go in drawers and can be dusted off if their concepts are relevant later.