How I Came Up With the Idea for The Only Boy
Usually, soon after I finish one novel, the idea for another comes, as if my mind automatically kick-starts in a new direction.
The concept for The Only Boy came a few weeks after watching the movie Children of Men. If you haven’t seen it or read the book, the gist is that babies have stopped being born, for some inexplicable reason, and the youngest living person is now an adult. This got me wondering what a world with only women would be like. How would they reproduce? Could they develop a technique to combine DNA from women to make more women?
After many years, centuries even, perhaps the women would no longer want men around? Maybe they would blame them for the disease that nearly wiped out humanity.
Introducing a boy into the mix would make the story more interesting, make the plot more complicated. Some of the women would want him dead. He would have to hide his identity.
I needed characters. Taylor, the only living boy, has just lost his family and friends, everyone he knew. Mary is an inquisitive girl with a yearning to learn more about life before the disease. The Matriarch, the figurehead for the group, is obsessed with making sure men never return. I tossed them together to see what would happen.
Of course, I thought the idea was totally original, but soon after I finished The Only Boy, I learned that the concept (just one living male) had been done before, in a comic book and a made-for-TV movie. It seems there are no new ideas, or at least very few of them. How many vampire books have been written? Avatar follows the same basic plot as Fern Gulley. Cinderella has been rehashed countless times.
A fresh take, however, can bring new life to the story. I haven’t seen the aforementioned comic book or made-for-TV movie, but I’m fairly sure The Only Boy is unique. Hopefully, my novel stands on its own. If you get a chance to read it, let me know.
Tell me in the comment section: how do you come up with ideas?