Saturday, October 13, 2007

Where do you get your ideas? - Shayla Black

This is a question I'm often asked...and frequently dread. It's a little like asking where I get the air I breathe. Ideas sort of run amok in my head. After over a decade of marriage, my husband can just look at me and tell when something new has struck me. But where they come from... Overactive imagination? Probably.

I get a lot of ideas, believe it or not, in the car. Probably because when I'm driving, I'm often alone. I'm almost always blasting music. Okay, there's something. I get a lot of ideas from music. It's the way my brain works. Some songs trigger storylines for me, which is why I frequently find songs that correspond to my current or upcoming work and use them to inspire me through a plot. Most people are visual. I'm wired different. Shocking, I know.

Books are easier for me when I have a "soundtrack." Wicked Ties and my current release, Decadent, both have theme songs from Depeche Mode, oddly enough. Jack in Wicked Ties was represented to me by the song Enjoy the Silence. Can't say why. It's not really the lyrics, just a vibe. Something about that song just felt like Jack. Decadent seemed to be spelled out in some ways by the song Precious. Upcoming books in the series, however, have totally different songs and artists, so I'm not just a Depeche Mode freak. I promise. Logan's song is by Three Days Grace, while Hunter's is by Hinder. Luc...I'm not saying a word. :-)

A lot of writers go through different processes to arrive at their plots and characters. Me? I'm all about getting the right vibe in some music. Then whatever is in my sub-conscious will work its way out. Can I write a book without music? Sure. I'm doing it currently with my first paranormal romance, Tempt Me With Darkness (Pocket, September 2008). I don't have a song that represents Marrok or Olivia or the overall plot. It's harder, I confess. Not impossible, thankfully. I'm almost finished.

Some ideas are like ghosts--they just haunt you. The idea for this paranormal is one I conceived of about a dozen years ago. I couldn't figure out the ending. And I couldn't figure it out, and I couldn't figure it out. I worked on it so many times, only to put it away, knowing the time wasn't right. Now music did help me solve the problem. There may have been a bottle of wine involved, too. LOL. So even though I didn't find theme music for the book, per se, I did find my imagination in music. Which is exactly where I love it to be.

If you're writing, find the process that works for YOU. There's no greater joy as a writer than FINALLY knowing that you have the right elements for the story in place and the book fitting together like the pieces of a perfect puzzle.

Read more about Shayla Black books at: or


Diana Holquist said...

Amen! Beautiful post.

(who is just now going to try that bottle of wine for finishing her WIP that's due IN TWO WEEKS. Gah.)

Karen H in NC said...

Hi Shayla,

I think it is interesting that you get a lot of your ideas while driving. I'm not a writer but I do a lot of deep thinking while driving. This could be dangerous though, because sometimes I can't remember if I stopped at that last stop sign,,,or I wonder what happened between there and here,,,,scary!

Anonymous said...

Karen, I had to laugh because there are times that I space out while driving too.

And Shayla, I do some of my best thinking in the car too. Oddly enough, I don't have as many distractions while driving than I do at other times, so I seem to be able to hear my thoughts more clearly.

Cathy said...

I totally get how music can inspire you. I am an ITunes junkie and I am going to go over and check me out some Depeche Mode. ;)

blessedheart said...

I just ordered both Wicked Ties and Decadent from Doubleday Book Club. I can't wait to receive them and start reading!

Rhonda :-0

Lily said...

I always like to know where or when authors get their ideas... and a bootle of wine must help at times!!

Shelley-Shayla said...

Thanks, everyone, for your comments.

Diana, good luck on finishing. Sounds like you have a 11/1 deadline, like me. Yeah, I'm not done either.

Karen, I know exactly the feeling. I find myself wondering if I've been so spaced that I ran red lights. Thankfully, I'm often driving in heavy traffic, so it's a lot more stop and go.

Jen, I think you're right--fewer distractions. Often, when we're at home, we're pulled in lots of other directions by family and household stuff. In the car alone, it's us and the road. Does that sound like a bad biker mantra? LOL

Cathy, I'm of the mind the iPod was one of the best inventions of the last 50 years. I LOVE mine!

Rhonda, thanks for ordering them!! I'm hoping you enjoy!

Lily, that bottle of wine never hurts...

Maureen said...

Although I'm not an author there are songs that will inspire me, if only to help me see situations more clearly.