Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

When Nora Roberts gives a speech or a workshop and entertains questions at the end, one of her friends always pipes up, “Where do you get your ideas?” She groans and nods her head in that way she does, and gives some witty response.

Because this is the unanswerable question, isn’t it? We writers have no idea where our story ideas come from.

Last Monday I turned in Book 3 of the Soldiers Series and so this is idea time for me. I may have said this before, but I don’t have lots of story ideas like some writers. Mine come one book at a time and never easily. I need to come up with a story idea for the next book, though, the book connected to The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor, Leo’s story. Leo is the youngest son of the Fitzmanning miscellany and all I knew of him from the anthology was that he loved horses. I’d always kinda figured I’d make him own a horse farm.

But Deb’s Diamonds hero also is involved with horses, so my editor thought one book with horses was enough. Now what do I do?

If he has to lose his horse farm, I’ll make him lose it in some horrible, dramatic way at the beginning of the story (glimmer of an idea…..)

Some time ago, I watched the old, Depression era movie My Man Godfrey which is about a down-and-out vagrant who becomes a wealthy family’s butler, but he really was once a wealthy society man himself. Great movie. Maybe a Regency version of the movie could become Leo’s story!

No. Not with his loving siblings, but maybe I could make Leo down-and-out, a dissipated rake, tortured after the loss of his farm. (Leo’s starting to come to life, but I don’t have a heroine…)

Then the other night I after watching my current favorite TV show, Say Yes To The Dress, a new show came on. Left At The Altar. This show tells the real life stories of men and women who were literally left at the altar, their spouse to be runs out at the last moment.

How devastating!
How perfect!

I’ll make Leo leave his bride at the altar. (But I still don’t know who she is….)

Of course, I need a “hook.” I talked about hooks in last week’s Diane’s Blog, those classic romance plots we see over and over again. Leo’s story certainly is shaping up to be Reunion Story, but I’m toying with making it a Woman In Jeopardy story, too. Leo has to save the bride he once jilted….

Problem is…I still don’t know who the heroine is or why she was jilted.

But I’m getting there! The idea is taking shape. And the answer to the question, “Where do you get your ideas?” is here, there, and everywhere! (and way too many from TV)

Sooooo, do you have any ideas for who my heroine should be???

Chivalrous Captain, Rebel Mistress may appear on your bookstore shelves this week. I wonder who will have the first sighting?

Join me on Thursday at Diane’s Blog when I’ll take you to a Tank Museum! And stop by Pink Heart Society today for Male on Monday with Michelle Willingham and me.

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12 years ago

My first thought was that of course Leo would leave her at the alter if he lost his dreams of owning a horse farm. What does he have to offer her, anyway, now? But with your gift of exploring the less financially fortunate that find happiness despite the lack of funds, could it be that her family decides to sell her to the highest bidder, so to speak, because they’d been hoping for a windfall from Leo…

Karyn Gerrard
12 years ago

Leo loses his horse farm in a devastating fire, even most of his stable hands were killed. The guilt, horrible. But the real loss was the heroine’s father, the trusted head groom. The man Leo admired and looked up to.
The heroine is young, and falls deep into grief. She blames Leo for her father’s death…should she go for some sort of revenge here?
The best revenge would be to marry him, make his life a misery.
Mired in guilt, Leo offers for the now penniless and orphaned young heroine, he lost most of his money in the fire, but still, he can offer a roof over her head. Can he offer his heart?
Would she even take it?
Wow, I should write this myself…just kidding, LOL!

Diane Gaston
12 years ago

Judy, selling to the highest bidder? good idea!

Karyn, marrying out of guilt, a woman who despises him? another good idea!

Jane George
12 years ago

Perhaps Leo lost a racing wager. The loser must choose between wooing and marrying said damsel quickly (perhaps the other bettor needs his sister married off so he can come into his majority) or lose his property.

But at the last minute Leo has a crisis of conscience and cannot go through with the ruse.

He leaves the girl he bewitched with charm at the altar, brokenhearted. He loses his business. But he keeps his integrity, knowing he has not trapped her into a loveless marriage.

12 years ago

Diane — LOVE this peek into your creative process. I get lots of ideas but always have trouble fitting them together. Looks like you’re getting lots of help here, though!

Louisa Cornell
12 years ago

Oooh !! Good story ideas being thrown around here!!

Perhaps Leo could hinge the continued ownership of his farm on the birth of a particular foal from his prize mare bred to a champion stallion.

However, two days before his wedding he has invited all of his investors to the birth of this prize foal. Oh calamity when the foal arrives and is obviously the spawn of … NOT the champion stallion, BUT the ugly piebald Suffolk punch his fiancee insists on riding every day.

He loses everything, except the mare and the ugly foal. He leaves her at the altar and takes off for Ireland. While there he discovers that the ugly foal is actually a fantastic racehorse. NOW, he has to woo back the girl who owns the sire from which he can breed his new racing stable. Good luck, Leo!

Diane Gaston
12 years ago

None of these excellent ideas are exactly like the ones swimming in my head…maybe pieces of them, though.

Louisa, very good, full-fledged idea! You aren’t “idea-challenged” like I am!

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