Where do you get your ideas? Do you use an outline? How do you find the time? I hear these questions frequently, from readers, from other writers, from people who are just interested in the process. I never know how to answer them.
Even sitting here typing this post, I’m not sure what the answer is. So instead of trying to formulate an answer, I’ll share some of my experiences with the process.
Inspiration usually doesn’t come to me like a bolt of lightning. Recently I have almost scared myself, thinking that I had become a blank slate, computer screen, sheet of paper, whatever your preferred writing tool. I found an old writing prompt and a friend challenged me to write five pages over a period of a couple hours. I tried really hard. I wrote a bunch of words trying to add to a story. All I ended up with was a bunch of trash. I kept repeating the same thing, just saying it different ways. I quit. I went back to edits until it was time to pick up my daughter from school. I still felt empty. Cleaning out my daughter’s backpack I find a pack of papers with Myrria’s Legacy 2 written across the top. Myrria’s Legacy is a middle grade novel I wrote a few years ago, waiting for me to edit and revise. I promised Ana she and I could write a sequel someday. She is currently reading the unpublished copy of Myrria’s Legacy for a book report. Inspiration: I haven’t thought about that book in a while and now she wants to start the second book. Hmm, looks like November’s project. Her and I can brainstorm until then and then I will do my part in November.
Inspiration: So I’m working on revisions for Three Crosses and in a chapter that didn’t include one of my secondary characters that is quickly moving into a primary position. Any way I am trying to insert her into a scene. Memories of previous random scenes that have been written, but never really connected to anything pops into my head. Connection made, the character does something, ties her to the previous scene. I don’t know why I wrote that scene, but now it all comes together. Somewhere in my mind at some point in time the idea was planted in my subconcious has now come full circle.
Inspiration: Need a title for the third novel in the Twelve Pillars. Three Crosses is taken and I hadn’t planned on a third novel so I have no clue. I’m in my writer’s group and mention my dilema. So we brainstorm: something in multiples of three; something related to the story. What to do, what to do? We decide the number nine is the perfect number, so now to have nine of something. Already used 12 pillars to represent the 12 apostles of Asha, and three crosses, still to be tied into the story. Wait my beloved dragons. Palace of Nine Dragons: I guess Myrria and Alorn will have to take a more active role in the trilogy and by writing this post, I have just discovered another plot point for Palace of Nine Dragons.
So now you see some of the ways inspiration finds me or I find it, although I am not usually looking for it when it happens.
I could list the many other ways inspiration has found me, but that could take too long and I want to go work on some of those previous inspirations.
Happy Writing and God Bless,
PS. I don’t outline, my characters don’t like it and stage a revolt when I do. I find the time whenever I have to. I really don’t have a set schedule. I try for mostly during the day when Ana is at school, but any time when she doesn’t need my attention will work.