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Tag Archives: story ideas

I just got back last night from a weekend out of town, and had lots of fun reading over the RR postings from the last few days! Maybe because I’m just incurably nosy about other people’s lives, I always love reading about how other writers work, how they set up and stick to (or don’t stick to) their schedules, etc.

Like many writers, I am a pantser forced on occasion to be a plotter before my story gets away from me entirely! I start with a short outline, maybe one page (or a full synopsis, if it’s a proposal, though the finished product seldom resembles anything like this synopsis. A synopsis is a horrible thing anyway! Down with the synopsis!). So, I know who my main characters are going to be, where they will be at, and basically what they need to be doing. How to get them from Point A to Point B has gotten a bit easier over time, just from sheer practice. My first manuscript was a total mess, because I just had no clue what to do. Maybe it would be easier, and take less time, and make for a shorter, tighter story, if I could do things like character charts, collages, story boards, chapter-by-chapter outlines, like so many great authors do. But I just don’t have the patience, or the energy. I’m so tired after doing a detailed character outline that I have nothing left for the book, and I have to go take a nap! I just have to be patient with my pantser ways, I guess, and hope my characters help me out, as they so often do.

One question I get a lot, and one I like to ask other writers, is–where do you get your ideas? I always have to say I have no clue. Maybe a movie, another book (non-fiction is great for this), a title, a place, a character that moves in and won’t go away (this happens a lot with secondary characters). Once I got an idea from a piece of material I saw in a fabric store. Lack of ideas is never my problem, they float around in my head all the time. It’s the giving them shape that gives me some trouble. So I ask everyone here–where do you get your ideas??? How do you get started?

Last night I went to sleep knowing exactly what I was going to blog about today.

When I woke up this morning, the idea had gone entirely. Now, I knew this would happen. It’s happened so often. What I should have done was get up there and then and create the post, or at least scribbled the idea down on a piece of paper. If I’d been mid book and fallen asleep thinking about the book and forced myself out of bed to write it, it probably would have been something pretty darn good.

So where do ideas come from? Who knows. But there are certain tricks and techniques that can help so today, I thought we’d play a game. I grabbed a few items from my office (and you have to understand that my office is rich pickings at the moment. We are doing major work to the downstairs of our house and so everything is in boxes everywhere else. I can just about get into my office and sit at my desk). So here’s my impromptu still life–a shell, a bowl, a string of beads, and two pics, one a portrait by Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun and the other an illustration of the cat who walks by himself by Rudyard Kipling. And it’s not just for writers: comment anyway, because you might surprise yourself and you don’t have to include every item.

Tell me what these suggest to you. 
What is the relationship between (all or some of) the items, how do they fit together?

THE PRIZE: Yes, there is a prize. A copy of my brand new release HIDDEN PARADISE, a sexy contemporary which has lots of sex and stuff about paint analysis and Regency clothes (on and off). It’s not coming out until the end of September and I have just received a big box of author copies (US residents only, must be over 18 and not related to me and all the usual stuff). You can comment here or on my FB author page Janet Mullany, Author. Let me know if you tweet it too, for extra points!

I’m also doing a blog tour for THE MALORIE PHOENIX, stopping today at MK McClintock’s Blog  and The Bunny’s Review. You can see all the blog stops here at Goddess Fish. Feel free to drop in and comment on earlier stops too. The prize is a $20 Amazon gift certificate.

So have fun and frolic online. Winners announced on Sunday July 22.


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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