Friday, September 12, 2008

Where do you get your ideas ? - Kate Walker

How did it get to September? That means that nine of the 12 Points on the 12th blogs are almost done.

I hope they've been interesting and some help to those of you who are trying to write your own books and aiming to get them published. If you're enjoying them, don't forget that there are a whole lot more details on how to write romance in the book from whihc the title of this mini-series is taken - Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance. Just be sure to get the second edition which is revised, updated and expanded from the first one.

Today I'm taking a brief look at one of those questions - the one that every writer gets asked (often more than once) at every stage of their careers. And the question is:

Where do you get your ideas?

The honest answer is 'Life' - I have often tried to persuade my accountant that life is a claimable expense for a novelist but sadly I haven't yet managed it.

So here are some of the tips and techniques I use when trying to come up with a new idea. Because, believe me, after 55 books, it can be dificult to think of something fresh and interesting - and something I want to write.


Read Read Read – learn the plots that make successful romances in the past and in the present – and the ones that have failed

Think about them – which ones can you still use?
Which ones will need changing to make them work today?

How could you turn a plot on its head?
Have him kidnap her?
She wants the marriage of convenience?

Watch soaps/dramas/films – stop it halfway – or at the end of the episode – ask yourself:
Where is it going?
Who will end up with whom?
What conflict/problem/sudden revelation/black moment is the writer going to bring in?

How could you do it differently?
What twists could you bring in?
Who could they end up with instead?
What if . . .?

Read newspapers/magazines/watch people stories on TV – use them as your characters - see if you can see what will happen – check it against reality

How could you rework a fairy story – Cinderella? Beauty and the Beast? Or a classic ? Jane Eyre? Pride and Prejudice?

With every story you read, watch, hear - think about what was behind it, who is involved, why it happend - and consider what will happen next. Very soon just a phrase or even a name can spark you off.

I know. I once wrote a book (long ago) simply because I was determined to get into the story the line 'I don't know who the hell you are, but you're certainly not my wife!'

And if anyone can tell me which book that was I'll send them a special prize.

(c) Kate Walker

Kate's latest novel Bedded By The Greek Billionaire is out now in Mills & Boon Modern and will be published next month in Australia's Sexy Romance and in Harlequin Presents in November.


Rebekah E. said...

Great post. Really informative. I'm going to make a guess on your question. Is it Chase the Dawn?

Kate Walker said...

Wow Rebekah - that was fast! And you're right.

Chase the Dawn which was published w-a-y back in 1988 (that's 20 years ago - eek!) is the book that that line is taken from. Rebekah can you email me kate AT with your postal address and I'll sort out your prize. Congratulations!

Anna Campbell said...

Kate, fantastic advice as ever! It's wonderful that you're doing a potted course in how to write a romance on Tote Bags!

Rebekah E. said...

Thanks I will get an email out to you right away.

Hannah said...

Good advice, thanks.

Jay said...

Wonerful advice, thank you!! I loved hearing about 'I don't know who the hell you are, but you're certainly not my wife!' It made me laugh! - now I have to go find a copy of Chase the Dawn, just to see where it fits in!