Monday, July 25, 2011

Mom, Where Do Ideas Come From?

It's probably the most common question any writer gets asked after "Are you published?"

"Where do you get your ideas?"

Like a writer is suddenly going to answer with the location of an Idea Store where beautiful ideas line the shelves and we can just walk in and pick up a likely looking one. The real answer tends to be a lot more complicated. My answer is always the same:


It's the best answer I can give and it's 100% true. I've had ideas hit me while I was sitting in a car driving down the road. I've had ideas hit me at track meets. I've had ideas hit me while I'm sleeping. Here are the stories behind some of my novels.

DestinyThe original story (called Andra) came from a dream I had. I know there was more to it, but the only part that I can remember with full-clarity now is an actual scene in the book. My dream self woke up on a stretch of grass and looked up to see a barbed wire fence surrounding her. She screamed and ran at the fence and clutched at it like she was going to rip it apart to escape. Men in black robes came up behind her and dragged her away into a building. When I woke up, the full story bloomed inside my head. I let it simmer for a year or two before I finally set down and wrote it out.

Black Diamond
Inspired by Parker in Joanna Campbell's Thoroughbreds series, I wanted to write a series of books about a girl and her eventing horse.

I was sitting at a track meet and looking up at the top of the bleachers when I started to wonder what would happen if someone jumped off there and ended up in a coma. Then I started to wonder why a girl would want to do that. And Hannah was born. I held the idea in my head for an hour until I was able to get to the car and write it down.
Aliens Ruined My LifeThis one was inspired by my constant thoughts about what it would be like after someone "normal" saved the world. In my mind there were so many stories about someone normal getting special powers and then saving the world from certain destruction, but very little about what happened after the world was saved. And so the story of Kate, a girl that saved the world from aliens, was born.

Where There's Smoke
The idea that kicked off WTS only vaguely resembles the draft that is here today. It was born when I was sitting in a car contemplating ranches for troubled teens and got the itch to write a love story with this setting. WTS is no longer set on a ranch for troubled teens, but the premise is the same.

Cardinal ThreeThis one was born from a news article about how scientists believed they had discovered the gene that causes people to cheat on their significant others. I went off on a tangent over this and CT was born.

Where do your ideas come from? Have you ever written a story from a dream? What's your usual answer to the infamous question?


Indigo said...

I've had a few come from nightmares (any wonder I write horror). The rest come from life. I love exploring the emotion baggage that comes from choices - good or bad. (Hugs)Indigo