“Where do you get your ideas?”
This is the question I am asked most as a writer. And I inevitably respond, “The ideas are the easy part. It’s writing the whole book that’s hard.”
This statement is definitely the truth—at least for me. But it doesn’t quite answer the question. The direct answer is simple--and complicated.
My ideas come from everywhere: newspaper stories, obituaries, observations about daily life, hobbies, travels and conversations—to name a few. All these factors provide kindling for creating characters, situations and locales. They set off that mysterious creative spark that all writers’ crave.
Most of the time when I begin a miniseries, such as my “School Ties” miniseries for Superromance, I have a theme in mind—in this case, college reunions. Since I live in a university town, these annual alumni pilgrimages are common events to me. But thinking about these common events start to spark questions in my writer’s brain. Who comes back? Why? What do they expect? Are these expectations always met? And what about memories? Are they true or false or somewhere in between?
These abstract questions are fascinating, but in a romance, they come to life only in the context of great characters. As a reader and writer, I’m interested in empathizing with complex characters. I want to learn how their interactions with other characters, in new situations and under pressure, help to mold and evolve their thinking and, most importantly for a romance, their feelings. The happy ending is a must, but the beginning of the journey—the spark--is what draws me along the twisting and, hopefully, satisfying road.
What’s the most important thing for you when you pick up a book? What are you looking for? I’d love to hear from you.