I have a t-shirt that reads "I live in my own little world, but that's okay, they know me here."
Writers do live in a world of their own. It's how we create. How our characters pop up either whispering, or sometimes screaming "tell my story NOW!" Trust me, there's nothing crazier than your character telling you what to do. Over the years I keep getting asked, "where do your ideas come from?" A lot of them are "what ifs?" Some come from something that happened to a friend, reading an article or seeing something on TV. And sometimes, a character pops up and insists I tell their story. Sometimes they oblige and tell me their story outright, sometimes, they make me work for it. Not that all ideas work. It's easy to do the "what if" and sit down and draft the story, but that doesn't mean everything falls together.
Jazz, my witch in 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover and Hex Appeal is such a case. I started her out one way, but I wasn't totally happy with what I had. Loved the character, hated the storyline. Jazz: Take Two. Kept her, dropped the story and worked with something else. This time around, I kept more, lost less but still not happy.
How did I know when, as Goldilocks says, "it was just right". Easy. The words flowed, the story sang. Well, at least it did to me. :} I didn't expect Jazz to behave. That just wasn't in her, but she was kind enough to see things my way just as I was smart enough to see them her way.
Coming up with ideas can be easy. Writing them into something coherent is a whole 'nother thing. But like I said. I live in my own little world and they know me there. And hopefully they'll continue to whisper in my ear. And maybe give me the whole idea more often and not just bits and pieces that I have to sort out!
What about you writers? Does that happen to you? And readers? Do you read a book that seems to have only a partial idea and you wonder if the author listened to his/her characters?