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Monday, November 9, 2015

Where do you get your ideas from?

I was at brunch last week with two ladies who both have careers outside the home and a history of moving every few years just like me. It was so exciting! I love talking to people!

Of course, with people who have jobs eventually the topic of conversation is, "What do you do?"

Spoiler Alert: "I plot murder all day." is not the correct response unless you know the person you're talking with has a sense of humor.

I used the tamer "I write books." at brunch because I knew neither of the ladies well. I'm attempting to assimilate into Alaskan culture and that means leaving my house and meeting people who aren't only Twitter icons (don't worry, I still love you best!).

Usually an admission of being an author leads to the age old question, "Have you published anything yet?" These ladies went with the much more flummoxing..."Where do you get your ideas?"

Well... um... I don't know!

I didn't have a clear answer because the answer varies from book to book.

For most my books the first idea I have is a scene like a clip from a movie. I see the colors, the characters, and a situation. Super villain fall in love with superhero. Person arrested by captain of the guard finds the captain in jail. Shapeshifter put in a facility for medical testing on animals. ... Those story snippets usually get me through the first three chapters.

And, quite honestly, that's where most those books end. That's why so few of those ideas sound familiar. They're partially sketched out but they were never written.

For less common are the ideas that start with WHAT IF? What if a police officer had to investigate their own murder? What if a superhero went undercover as a stunt double? What if the terraforming didn't work? What if...??? It's a wonderful question.

A lot more happens for me with WHAT IF? because it is immediately followed by WHAT NEXT? If you start with a problem you already have the ball rolling.

Where do your ideas come from?

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