Inspriration: Because a Story Starts Somewhere
A question I’m often asked is where do I get the ideas for my stories. My ideas come from several areas, and I’d like to share those with you to help you get a jump start on a new project.
Ideas are “iffy” little things. Sometimes an inkling for an entire plot might come into my head because of some trigger. Other times, I might get the inspiration for a lead character, secondary character, or a plot device, maybe even a simple scene to build the story upon.
Bumblebee the Bear in Everybody’s Broken was an inspiration received when I saw the cutest picture of a bear. In fact, that picture reminded me that a series set in the mountains of Western Carolina would not be complete without a bear. At first, Bumblebee’s character afforded comedic relief and nothing more. What she became to the story surprised even me.
The idea for my novel, Charisse, was born out of a collaborative effort. Therefore, I want to call this inspiration necessity. When I first began to write Charisse’s story, she was not called Charisse. She was Faith, and her story was one of five novellas. When the story came close to a contract but didn’t get picked up, each author took their special character and did what they wanted to do with her. Faith became Charisse, my first attempt at writing simple romance, and I learned something inspirational about myself. I cannot write simply.
In my novel, Better Than Revenge, the hero clicked with me right away. His inspiration came from him. He walked upon the stage of my mind, stared down at me, the director, and said, “I’m an ex-convict who went to jail to protect my heroine. I’ve just found out that she has a seven-year-old son, and the kid is not mine.” As I neared the end of the stories first draft, I realized that the heroine wasn’t as concrete as I liked because I didn’t have a strong picture of her. I worried over that until the day my husband and I drove by a farmhouse in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. That farmhouse instantly became the heroine’s abode and gave me a link with her that I didn’t have before. Add two cows, some chickens, and a psycho’s return looming over her, and she became very real to me.
My favorite way to for inspiration to strike is to see an actor or actress in a role and connect with that character. At that point, I have something one dimensional. I study the actor or actresses roles, and I pull good and bad traits from the various characters they’ve portrayed until I have a fully formed, three-dimensional character to which my readers can bond. When that happens, the creativeness flows through my veins like a shot of intravenous fluids because if I know if I’m bonding with the characters, my readers will, too. Ideas swarm inside my imagination, and while working around the house or taking time away from the computer, I allow the character and his or her friends to come out on stage for audition. The lead characters work as co-directors telling me who can stay, what role they’ll have, and where their stories will take us. They cast different scenarios for me, and when the right one comes along, I know it. The story sticks. The plot doesn’t grow cold … it heats up.
Another way to obtain inspiration is so obvious that many authors dismiss it.
Write every day. Write without inspiration so that it can be stirred within you. True authors cannot cite a lack of ideas as a reason to stay away from the page. Often, putting the hands to the keyboard is what brings the ideas out to play.
Do you have a special way to be inspired? If so, I’d love to know.
Fay Lamb is an editor, writing coach, and author, whose emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted three series. With the release of Everybody’s Broken, three of the four books in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series, which also includes Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released. Fay has also collaborated on two Christmas novella projects: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, and A Ruby Christmas, and the Write Integrity Press romance novella series, which includes A Dozen Apologies, The Love Boat Bachelor, and Unlikely Merger. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.
Future releases from Fay are: Frozen Notes, Book 4 of the Amazing Grace series and Hope and Delilah, Books 3 and 4 from The Ties that Bind series.
Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads.