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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Following the Story Thread




As a writer, I am often asked where I get my ideas for stories.  I have a few answers for this—all of them true.

Stories come from everywhere, I’ve insisted in online interviews and casual conversations alike.  A magazine article, a TV news snippet, a character in a movie, an argument between a couple in an airport—all of these have sent my mind on the “what-if” journey that leads to a story.

Other times, depending on my opinions about my work on a given day, I might suggest that story ideas often start with plot or character and then I’ll build one to suit the other.  When characters are dogging me for a story, I might ask myself what would be the most problematic situation I could put that particular hero and heroine in.  If a plot hook is niggling in my brain, I’ll twist it in the other direction and ask myself what kinds of characters would find that particular plot problem the most devastating?  Yes, making life tough for our characters is a writer’s job.

But today I’ve decided that trying to track down the roots of a story is sort of like making my way through a labyrinth without the benefit of Ariadne’s thread.  I’ve culled inspiration from so many numerous sources, pulling together so many different ideas, that the end product feels wholly unique.  The ideas have fused so fully that to trace the root causes is almost impossible.  I might have pulled a character into the story that I conceived years ago and couldn’t find a place to put him.  I might build a world around a tiny germ of an idea that didn’t work in a book I wrote eons ago but now I’ve got new fuel for the concept and think I can make it work. 

Truly, some of the ideas are so deep rooted that they seem to come from my toes.  My stories represent a million facets of my mental make up, the snippets of thoughts, ideas, fears and dreams that make me.

So where do my stories come from?  It’s a topic I love to think about.  But in my book releasing April 3rd, EXPECTING A SCANDAL, the answer to the question is very different since it's part of the Texas Cattleman's Club series, which means the rough outline of the story was provided for me. 

If you haven't read any books in this long-running Harlequin miniseries, you're missing out on a wonderful facet of series romance. By plotting the fictional world of Royal, Texas, and all the people in it, Harlequin provided its writers with a unifying setting that readers love to return to time and time again. When I was asked to pen EXPECTING A SCANDAL, I didn't need to dream up the characters... the arrived with their professions and conflicts ready to roll. Sure, I had to find ways to move the story forward and help the characters to fall in love, but it was a really different experience not using characters of my own creation. I can't wait to try another one.

**Happy Spring my friends! What are you looking forward to most this month? I've got a copy of my February Desire, FOR THE SAKE OF HIS HEIR, to share with one random commenter! 


10 comments:

Monica Tillery said...

I've always cherry-picked the Harlequin titles I read. I've seen the Cattlemen's Club books but wondered if I could just dive in wherever I wanted, as it seems so long-running! Thanks for a great post. Desire is one of my favorite lines.

dstoutholcomb said...

I'm looking forward to a new month. March has been challenging.

denise

Kay Garrett said...

The thing I'm looking forward to the most is sunshine days and being warm enough to get outdoors again. I also have to add music to that. We live in the World Capital of Folk Music where come warm weather this is music of all sorts everywhere in our community. The pick 'n' park is always buzzing and there are concerts 3 nights a week a the Folk Center as well as lots of other concerts in establishments throughout the city or folks just jamming on B&B porches and the courthouse lawn. The music and the small town atmosphere are two of the main reasons we moved here last year. I can hardly wait for the season to start up! Nothing better than taking a good book and sitting on a bench listen to some great music. :)
2clowns at arkansas dot net

Kimberlyindy said...

I am looking forward to a great new month. I always feel like I can renew my life with spring.

Laney4 said...

Pretty simple, really. Finishing the income taxes....

Margaret Murray-Evans said...

I can guarantee after all the post I've read, I'll be reading EXPECTING A SCANDAL next week.����❤️

Mary Preston said...

I'm looking forward to catching up with family over Easter.

Lori Byrd said...

I'm looking forward to getting some much needed stuff done around the house.

Joanne Rock said...

Monica Tillery, you're my winner! Just message me at jrock008@gmail.com with a mailing address and I'll put a copy of the book in the mail for you asap!! Thank you all for visiting with me this week!

Harlie Williams said...

I just finished reading this awesome story. I've been reading about Royal, TX and the Cattleman's Club for years. I can't wait to see what happens with the storyline.

Marika/Harlie