Where do you get your ideas?
Tonya lists this as one of the questions NOT to ask a writer. I know a lot of writers hate getting this question. I have heard writers snap back at people who ask it. One writer answered it by saying, “I buy them!”
I can’t figure out why writers hate the question because I think it is an interesting one. Just where DO ideas come from? Why do writers have so many of them when some people just don’t?
I was driving along with my friend one day and saw a sign that said, “Cibolo Creek.” “Oh!” I said to her. “What a wonderful title for a book!” She couldn't figure out why that would be a good title or what anyone would write about it, but I immediately threw out several threads. I’m still planning to write that one someday.
A friend of mine was amazed at my “creativity.” I told her I was sure she was just as creative. But she just denied it. She couldn't come up with a single idea for a book or story. Just nothing. Even when I made some suggestions, she was not able to elaborate on them or see a story possibility. Then it was my turn to be amazed.
I love to hear from creative, imaginative writers about how, when, where they got an idea for a certain book or project. I think it is fascinating to see how someone else’s mind works. Maybe that’s why people like to read. We get into someone else’s mind, see things from someone else’s point of view, and learn to see the world differently.
I love to analyze my own stories and figure out where the ideas came from. For MR. RIGHT’S BABY, the idea came to me “out of the blue.” I was driving along not thinking of anything particular when the whole story popped into my head. I hadn’t planned to write a contemporary romance, but I just had to write this one.
Later, I wondered where it all came from and began analyzing the threads in the story. The little girl is my daughter. Some of the things Carly does in MR. RIGHT’S BABY are just like the things Shana would have done at that age. A friend of ours many years ago, wanted to marry his girl friend who had a young daughter. He loved that little girl so much. But he worried that he wanted to marry his girl friend just to get to be her daughter’s father more than to be her wife. That became another thread in the book.
I picked that book apart, following those threads back to their origins, sometimes to things that had happened 20 years earlier. And somehow, all those threads had come together that day on the road in the car. How they did or why then, I don’t know. But there it was, the culmination of many life situations tangling together into a new shape and blossoming into the plot for a book that had to be written.
Yeah, Tonya, I love figuring out where ideas come from. Mine, and yours, and every other writer’s. To me, it’s a fascinating study.
Anyone else interested in where ideas come from?