How do you come up with stories and book ideas?
Stories are people. People are fascinating creatures. I find stories in the most interesting of places. I love a good story myself, and so it’s easy for me to craft one when there are some good, strong characters to build around.
If I were to publish a book every year… even twice a year, I wouldn’t run out of ideas. New ones come into play at the very least once a month.
In order for me to commit an idea into a book though, I do have a process. I write down the initial outline and mull it over for a while. If it fleshes itself out; if the characters start invading my thoughts and the story idea grows on it’s own, I’ll make a concentrated effort to see where it will go. However, I do not put pen to paper unless the idea has a beginning, middle and end with at least two strong characters.
It’s interesting to see where the story goes once I start the writing process, and sometimes I am quite surprised with the turns it takes.
Ideas are all around me. I meet a lot of interesting people. I read a lot of history and I believe that everyone has a story. I love the opportunity to draw people’s stories out and then create something brand new.
Not to mention, there are so many things that interest me. And when I find something that grabs my attention, I feel the need to share it with others either in a teaching/educational way, or in story form. Being a teacher at heart, my brain automatically breaks information down into new teachable ways. So there are a lot non-fiction books, educational series, e-courses and workshops I haven’t even allowed myself to get started as yet, but they are there.
I have a jar of slips of paper with different plots and outlines and character names tucked (squished) inside. If I were ever to get bored and not have a fresh story on the tip of my fingertips, I could always go to my reserve jar. These are ideas that I just came up with on a whim and thought might be interesting some day, or a plot that is outside of my genre and would be fun to tackle to shake things up a bit. Some are there to remind me just how much my imagination can really come up with! Some will never see the light of a printed page, but others wait patiently for my current dozen or so projects to be complete. Yes, I do usually have about a dozen irons in the proverbial fire at any given time. Yes, it slows down my work/completion rate, so I am trying to only focus on three at a time. It seems to be helping. I am much more productive this way. But my brain doesn’t slow down. It doesn’t know that I’m trying to get things done. It is constantly conjuring and creating and looking for new ways to express itself through my hand. It obviously thinks I have more time.
I’m going to need a new jar soon…
My non-fiction ideas have a binder. There I tuck away scraps of information supporting my thought-process along with notes that I come up with to eventually add to the research. In non-fiction, I have to be more strict when compiling outlines because those turn into chapters and makes the assigning of all of my collected information so much easier. Please don’t ask how many binders I have…
God willing, I will be writing for a very, very long time.
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Do you have a muse or an inspiration?
Writers on writing
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