I’m one of those writers who finds herself assaulted by ideas. Sometimes they’re good, like an interesting title or a phrase that just sparkles. Dreams offer visual ideas, as does television and playing with my children. I frequently use writing prompts because they are like a puzzle and it’s a joy to makes sense of elements that aren’t apparently connected. The key to ideas is absorbing what I can without putting any pressure on it, and being open enough to absorb those ideas. Let me tell you about my current projects and how they came into existence.
My novel-in-progress, Shadow of Blood, stemmed from a play on words. I’m a Stargate fan, and frequently in the show characters would refer to the Stargate as the “stone ring”. A play on words gave me “Circle of Stones”, which ignited an image of a young boy in a fantasy world standing on the outside of a circle of stones on the ground, and when he stepped into it, he travelled someplace. It was magic, I knew instantly, not technology, and the travel was forged with all four elements and blood. The story has morphed of course, the boy is now a two hundred year old slave in a desert city. The magic remains, and the circle of stones has evolved into a handful of marble sized stones that one tosses like dice to create the travel ring.
The short story I just finished, Ghost Story, started as a story telling session with my five year old daughter. Once a week, we have story time where instead of reading, we make up our own stories. This one I told her was about a girl who went to a haunted house and found a magic mirror who brought her things, but that weren’t quite right. The cake was stale. The ball wouldn’t bounce. The flowers had green petals and blue leaves. (I suppose I could just write that story too?) I wanted to make the mirror scary, a device of horror. I ended up with a completely different story – a post apocalyptic ghost whisperer who with the help of a ghost has to confront a demon.
Phrases catch my attention as well. I saw something at the museum one time, which sparked the title for my next novel, Blood of the Dragon Tree. Someone’s account name on my favorite writing community sparked the title for Rise of the Tiger Princess. That one took about six months to figure out. I wrote “Tiger Princess” on a post it note and left it on my monitor at the day job. Eventually, something triggered the story and I wrote it.
I have a pretty open imagination. I’ve never lacked for an idea to write, which is wonderful. If I don’t have time to start a new project based on an idea (I like to finish things, no matter how long they take), I’ll write it down, including a sketch if I have a visual on it, and put it in my “writing ideas” folder.
Today’s post was inspired by Forward Motion’s Merry-Go-Round August topic ‘Where I Got My Latest Idea’. If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out where their ideas come from, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. The next Merry Go Round writer is Bonnie. She’ll be posting her take on this same topic on the 5th for your reading pleasure.