Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Where Do Book Ideas Come From?

Anne and I have been asked where our book ideas come from. That's a great question. Try: overactive imaginations, a love of history, people watching and more. 

There's a crazy saying "be careful you may end up in my book". Well, it's true. Not that I'm going to name you and describe you to a T, but we do watch for interesting traits in people.

So here's a few things that I look at to come up with a story idea:

Location -- I pick a location that not only intrigues me, but it unique and marketable. I love Rome. It's one of my favorite places in the world. But believe it or not, books written with settings overseas don't sell well. American readers want to read something they can relate to. The majority of readership can't, unfortunately, relate to Rome. So, my next thought is the location unique? Nantucket vs. Texas? There's a mad pile of books coming out based in Texas right now, so my guess is there's quite a few under contract. So I'll pick something I haven't seen. One of the books brewing in my brain is set on a French city based on the shores of the Mississippi River. But sometimes location is also a lighthouse, or a library, or a steam ship.

Characters -- next are characters. A lot of time the location inspires my characters, or visa versa. Characters can also be designed around a spiritual theme, a career, or a story line. My current characters are a doctor and a female lighthouse keeper. My next book is the son of a liquor baron from Milwaukee and the daughter of an alcoholic miner.

Plot -- Plot is always critical. A boring plot makes for a dull story. So where does plot come from? Since I write historicals, I read old newspapers from the time period, study up on the location I've chosen or am contemplating choosing and go from there. In my next book, the son of the brewer is on the hunt for pirates on the Great Lakes who are stealing and smuggling his father's liquor shipments while the heroine is on a temperance hunt to save her father from the demon liquor. Based on true facts. Makes for fun stuff. And who thought there were midwestern pirates to be aware of? ;)

So there's a LOT that goes into story plotting. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. This is why we writers have plotting retreats. After awhile, your brain goes into overload and you need someone else to help segment the information into something doable. This may also be why writers have a reputation of being a bit loony.

Are you considering writing a book? Ever dream of writing? What are your thoughts or tips on the subject?


Jaime Wright -

Writer of Historical Romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :)

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