We ended the Authors’ Blog Challenge yesterday so I’m on my own for a topic today. I thought I’d talk about story ideas today. I was asked by a friend last night: Where do you get your ideas?
That is easy .Everywhere! I got my idea for the Soiled Dove Sagas after watching a documentary on the History Channel about prostitution in the California Gold Fields. I got my idea for my current project, Moon of the Witch from all the amazing photos I saw after the recent lunar eclipse. Ideas come from everywhere.
My biggest problem is sorting through the plethora of ideas and weeding them down to one story. Yikes! I have a yellow legal pad full of story notes and things to research for possible stories. It’s never ending. I can be inspired by a piece of music. Photographs of historic sites are very inspiring to me.
I can look at a photo of an abandoned farmhouse and think of a hundred different stories that could be told. It must have seen thousands of joyous or horrific moments in its time. There could be an amazing story about a family Christmas around a beautifully decorated tree or a story about that same family mourning the death of a beloved family member as they attend his wake in that same room.
Yes, the ideas spring from my imagination, but that imagination is generally triggered by something I see or hear. I have been reading fiction since about age eight. I’ve devoured many genres. I’ve studied history. Writers must first be readers. We fill our minds with the thoughts of other imaginative writers and build from that. I enjoy action adventure novels. I’ve never been in a shoot out, but I’ve read about them. From that I have written my characters experiencing a stagecoach robbery. I was held up at gun point once, so that helped me to write what my character felt when that blue steel weapon was pointed at her, but my imagination and the writing of others helped me to capture the moment when my character took matters into her own hands and blew the jerk away!
When I’m writing, the action flows out of my brain and onto my computer screen. Often times after I read what I’ve written and digest it, I think: where did that come from? Sometimes it stays and sometimes it goes. That’s called editing. I use an outline to help me decide what path I want my story to take, but weird things sometimes jump out at me along the path that can take my characters in an entirely different direction. I believe they call that bird tracking and it can be a problem. Sometimes the fertile mind creates fertilizer. Editing helps to scoop up the fertilizer and sweep up the bird tracks in a story.
All of that being said; I get my ideas for stories from everywhere.
Until tomorrow: Write On!