Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Generating Ideas

One challenge for a novelist is coming up with ideas that generate ideas for future books. While we're writing one, we need to generate ideas for more -- it's a cycle of life of sorts. 

I read a few non-fiction books, looking for anything that jumps out at me. And if it interests me, there is a chance I can spin a story around it. After that I noodle the story, try to come up with new ideas, characters, and details that will coat the non-fiction idea in a way that fiction lovers with enjoy and be immersed in them. 

When Sarah, Tricia and I began talking about creating a novella collection, we started with a conference call. We started talking about the elements that we share in our World War II novels. Once we started spinning out elements, it became easy to craft a core that we could work from to create stories that were woven together.

With A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island, I thought about places we enjoyed visiting. Those often make a great setting for a book that will allow readers to escape into the pages and stories for awhile. 

How do you generate ideas for your novels?


  1. Whether for short stories or long sagas, ideas continually swirl around us, in the news, in conversations, in an event from the past... Learning to recognize the story-worthy ones is crucial.

  2. I agree with Rick. Usually I like things that have happened in history and people history hasn't paid much attention to and like to write from their POV. I also like to visit grave yards. Morbid, I know, but I have an insatiable curiosity about their lives, who they were, what they did. Sometimes you can get a clue by the stone their family has chosen.

    But mostly, I get mine from history.

  3. For me, it varies. An Apologetic For Murder started with a thought about what if someone tried to murder an apologist at a conference. Other times, it may start with a title. I had an idea of a trilogy consisting of The Usher of the House of Fall, The Hunt For Dick Mobey, and the Manucurist Candidate. Also, one driving force behind this series is the heroine, Cappi Berra. My inspiration for her was at the Chattanooga Zoo. Yes, my character's inspired by the world's largest rodent, South America's capybara. Her personality got me going.