Mining Your Life and Work for Stories and Content
How often have you been asked where you get your ideas for your book? I think every author gets asked that question—a lot! But how do you answer? With a story of your own? (I was riding the subway and it just came to me.”) Or do you avoid answering all together?
So often we don’t even know how our ideas come to us. Sometimes they can come from a random person you see and begin to make up a story about. Sometimes they can come from an experience you have and realize that if you just exaggerate it a bit (or not), it would make a great book. An idea can come from a newspaper article or even from a book by another author.
My favorite way to come up with a story—or more likely a series—is by mining my other books for characters. I put so many characters in my books I am inadvertently creating the building blocks for future heroes and heroines.
Those characters who are more interesting, more complicated, may be worthy of their own novel. Others who are not as well developed may get a novella or a short story written about them. (I publish a short story in—or a part of one—in my newsletter every month and am always in need of characters to craft a story around.)
So, where do you get your ideas for your novels?
For my other writing—blogs or newsletters—I am always looking for content. But once again we need look no further than our own work. Novels are filled with information you can expand into a 5–800-word post.
Is there research you did for your book? Write about it.
Are there interesting settings you’ve included? Write about it.
Did you run into any problems or learn any interesting lessons while writing? Yeah, you got it—write about them.
If you’ve been a long-time reader of this blog, you know that this is what I do—the last one in particular. Any problems, anything new that I try (and I’m always trying something new) they always get written up in this blog. I hope you find them as useful and interesting as I. Thank you for being a regular reader, and remember, if there is anything that you are struggling with, any questions that you have, you can always message me and ask me to write about it.