We all know now there is no magic key and there is also not an idea factory. Sometimes I am asked where I get my ideas and how they grow into stories. One of my husband's co-workers thinks that I must be "crazy" (but in a nice way) that I can spin tales about people and places that spring out of my imagination.
The thing is, I always did that. Even as I child, I made up elaborate stories to use in games or as a storyline for my dolls. I had - and still do - a very healthy imagination.
When one of my grandmothers remarried and moved to an old house that had two seperate rooms for the bathroom -once a standard in very old houses where plumbing was added after the house was built - I loved to lock myself into one of the two closet sized cubicles and pretend I was a princess trapped in a tower. One tiny room held the actual facilities and the other a sink and shower. It didn't matter much to me which I used because both made a great imaginary tower. I would peer out of the single small high window and daydream about when my prince would rescue me.
Many of my ideas begin with a simple "what if" question. Yesterday I was offered (and accepted) a contract for another fiction work called Long Live The King. The story is based in 1956 Las Vegas and the heroine, who time traveled unaware from the present, meets Elvis Presley. It's a love story - and more. The idea began with "what if Elvis met someone on his first trip to Las Vegas who changed his life." Running with that idea earned me a contract from Champagne Books.
My next release from Evernight Publishing, Love Tattoo, began when one night driving out on the highway I noticed that the majority of other vehicles were big rigs. I had the stray thought that a vampire could easily be a truck driver with such hours and the next thing, I sat down and wrote a story with that idea as the basis.
My upcoming July release, Kinfolk, started out with the notion of a woman running back home to somewhere in the rural Ozarks, in flight from some trouble.
The list could be endless, I suppose.
My recent short story, Ugly As Homemade Sin, that appeared recently in The Liquorian was inspired by hearing that old phrase - ugly as homemade sin - at my son's ball game one summer evening and by the mortgage crisis. I came up with the idea about a family downsizing from an upscale suburban home to an older house but realizing that home is more than just a nice house.
The story can be read here:
Ideas are everywhere, in the things I see, the snippets of conversation that I hear, the stray thoughts that fly in my direction.
The trick is to recognize them and catch them, hold them until the muse strikes and expands them into something more.