It’s week 14 of the MFRWauthor blogging challenge, and this week our prompt is Story Inspiration.
I think one of the most common questions I’ve heard in my two-and-a-half decades in this business is, “Where do you get your ideas?” This usually comes from someone who isn’t the creative type because I think most creatives, whether they’re author, musician, painter, sculptor, or Crayola specialist understand that ideas come from anywhere and everywhere if you’re creative. A snippet of conversation overheard in a restaurant can spark an entire book. A song on the radio can inspire a painting. A passing thought s you’re driving down the street can result in a gorgeous landscape. The contrast between sun and shadow can spark an idea and, in the odd way our brains work, that idea can turn into something.
So, in general, the answer to that question is usually pretty hard to explain to someone whose brain is wired differently and whose creative inner wood-sprite doesn’t run off into a field at the slightest provocation.
It’s a little easier–sometimes–to talk about where I got the inspiration for a single story in particular. My very first romance, for example, came from my own experience in an abusive relationship from which I narrowly escaped with my life. I thought about what my own sister would have done to protect my children, and the plot for Call Me Mom (aka Picture Perfect) was born.
One day something caused me to wonder what would happen if I saw someone being murdered, but later couldn’t find the body to prove it. That question was the catalyst for Goody, Goody Gunshots. That’s all I had when I sat down to write the book, which was unusual for me. I had to write the story to get the answer to my question.
Keeping Her Safe was also the product of my own past experiences. I wondered what might have happened if I had lied to Younger Daughter about what happened to her biological father after the court terminated his parental rights. The judge ordered him to have no contact with her again ever, and lying might have worked when she was young, but what if, when she got older and I was no longer in control, he showed up at her doorstep? What then? Luckily I opted to tell her the truth instead, so when he did show up, she wasn’t vulnerable.
Several years ago, I drove my parents to one of their high school class reunions. When it was time to pick them up again, I went into the restaurant and met some of their former classmates. That experience led to No Place for Memories, in which Fred Vickery, the protagonist in that mystery series, is accused of murdering his old high school nemesis.
Ideas and inspiration come from anywhere and everywhere. Finding the inspiration for a story is one of the fun parts about being an author. Finding inspiration is the easy part. The hard part is turning that inspiration into something someone else may want to read.
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