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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Those Darn Pesky Ideas

One of the questions I get frequently from readers is one of the hardest to answer. Where do you get your ideas?

Everywhere. I think. :-) Right now my head is jumbled up with all kinds of stories and characters. I can even pinpoint where some of them came from. My paranormal romance trilogy idea came to me when I saw a picture. Just that easily, I had a character in, and once that happens, the information starts pouring in.

I also have an idea for another paranormal story that came to me on Twitter. Someone posted a link to a story and gave the headline. And I was like, whoa! Immediately, I had a shadowy sense of the characters. I was going to let this one slide away or at least wait until I finished working on the other ideas I'd actually started, but this week, this idea (and a second one that kind of fits with it) has take hold and won't stop gnawing at my brain. I need to get a notebook out and start jotting things down.

The time travel short story theoretically started back in 2005. I was working on a proposal for a story in my Jarved Nine world when Troll showed up. Right away, I was fascinated by him, but there were three other stories in this world that I'd need to write before I could do his (that was how the timing worked for what happened when) and I didn't think I'd ever write him. Then the request came in to do the time travel, and of course, my heroine is going to the future. (I don't even read historicals let alone write them.) And by doing time travel, it allowed me to skip ahead past Flare, Gravedigger, and Z Man's stories and get right to Troll. You can meet their heroines (at least Flare and Digger's heroines) in the short story and maybe someday I'll write the romances I skipped, but wow, I love Troll.

While the three examples above show that anything can trigger a story idea for me (And sometimes I'm not even sure where they come from myself), the vast majority of what I get is because of characters. Somebody shows up and starts talking to me.

Sometimes ideas hit on two fronts. I had an idea for a romance between a hero and heroine who were both half demon and half human, but I had no characters. I was working on another project months later when Mika arrived. I had no clue who she was or what story she belonged to. In this case, it was a one-two punch. Big idea first and then characters.

Anyway the ideas come in, I love getting them. Of course, I'd love it more if I didn't have fourteen or fifteen separate ones--each with a hero and heroine--in my head right now with no time to work on all of them, but that's the way it goes. It becomes like triage--which idea is the one that's got me by the throat? That's the one I have to write first.