Normally, when inspiration strikes, I run with it. The way it works is something like this. I’ll be reading a book and something in the story grabs my attention. It might be a detail about the setting or a real person who somehow featured in the story. It might have something to do with what people at that time or in that place believed. It is always a tangent only vaguely related to the original so working the project up isn’t a problem. I’m not copying the original author or piggy-backing on their work in any way. This isn’t, after all, fan fiction.
But this time is a little different. This is a book about a young woman who lives in a genuine haunted house. The book is rich with details on how to hunt for ghosts. Many of the methods could be adopted or adapted by a young reader. I remember the ghost crazy phase my own son went through and would love to write a ghost hunting book.
Normally I’d do a market check and then, barring a similar book in print, get to work. This time, I have a problem.
The author of this book is a close friend. This means that I’ll tell her about the idea and see if she’s interested in pursuing it. She’s written some children’s educational nonfiction under another name so it isn’t altogether outside the realm of possibility that she would decide to write such a book. Whether or not I get busy will depend on how she responds.
What about you? Under what circumstances would you run an idea by another writer first?