Ideas, Ideas—They’re Everywhere
I’m often asked how I get ideas for my books. I always want to answer, “Where don’t I get ideas?”
I get character ideas by people watching. Now, my friends and family know I detest shopping. If I never had to walk into another mall in my life, I’d be happy. But with three daughters, that’s not gonna happen. Sigh. So when forced to brave the elements of humanity (although, I seriously question this—have you ever seen women at a 75% off sale act really human?) and venture into stores or malls, I watch people. I study them. Yes, even been known to snap a picture of one with my cell phone because of a certain hairstyle, or quirk, or expression. All of this information filters down and finds its way into a character.
Newspapers, television, and yes, even those true-crime shows all provide fodder for my plots. No, I don’t see something or read about it and then just change minor events for my story. I play a game called what-if. For example, I’ll hear a story about a woman who shot her husband for having an affair. My mind starts the game: What if the woman had hired a private detective to get the “goods” on her husband? What if the private detective had a grudge against the husband for some wrong years ago? What if the man wasn’t having an affair, but the private detective made it look like he was, just so his wife would kill him? Oh, what if the woman didn’t even suspect her husband was having an affair, but this guy who had a grudge against the husband pretended to be a private detective and sent incriminating evidence to the wife? . . . and so my mind goes.
Ideas are everywhere, you just have to look for them. Now, back to The Game. What if a writer was on tight deadline? What if she kept playing on email and the internet instead of making her word count? What if . . .