Thursday brings us answers to another question submitted by you! This week’s winner is Bonnie Long Strappello! She asks: "Is there anything specific you do to help you come up with ideas for a new book or series?"
For submitting her question, Bonnie’s won a copy of Lisa Harris’s book, HIDDEN AGENDA!
If you have a question for us, leave it below. You might be our next winner! You could win a book by one of today’s top suspense/mystery writers – or a gift certificate to Amazon! (Questions submitted without contact information won’t be considered.)
I like to find an actual event or mystery and very loosely base my story on it. MURDER IN THE PAST TENSE was based on a murder victim that I had actually once known, just like my character Amelia did. My upcoming book, INCOMPLETE SENTENCE, is based on a real case, that of the Unicorn Killer, a vicious murderer who eluded authorities for many years before being caught.
Ellen Kennedy aka E.E. Kennedy
I find my ideas everywhere. From an idea sparked on TV, insomething I read or heard. Sometimes, I'll be browsing stock photos for a client and run across a picture that sets my imagination soaring. The possibilities for stories are endless!
Cynthia Hickey (Melton)
Thus far, I’ve never had to look around me too long to find a germof an idea for my next novel. But after that, I let my imagination take over (since I am a prototypical “pantser.”)
Ideas come to me at the craziest times. And they're usually sparked by a unique setting. Something strange about an everyday type ofplace. When they strike, I open a new file and write everything I know about the story plan - usually only naming my characters by their roles like Mc (main character - usually called Mac until I can name her.), Hero, Vic for Victim, Antag for the bad guy. I typically don't know much about the story, but I put it all in.
Then, like last week, when I'm faced with coming up with a totally new project, I pull out my trusty collection of idea files and sort through the best possibilities. Usually I settle on one that stirs up creativity.
I love it when something inspires me--and usually that's an amazing setting--and I know what I'm going to write, but that doesn't usually happen. Definitely, I keep my eyes and ears open to everything going on around me, looking for that special premise. Sometimes I'll spend a day or a week researching and digging for an idea that ignites that muse. I especially love reading certain magazines like National Geographic Adventure and Wired--these will get the idea juices flowing.
I'm pretty setting driven. I find a place, an interesting locale that Iwant to learn about and I choose that for a series setting. It's an added bonus if I get to actually go see the place, like I did with Coronado Island which inspired Dangerous Tidings. :)
I'm quite driven by settings that would be a perfect place for a story...then begin to imagine the protagonists and antagonists that could logically be there. Setting up new stories is so much fun!
Most of my ideas just come from inside my head! A few times something in the news has sparked an idea, but it’s not the norm forme. Years ago I spoke to a small book club. One of the women brought her young son. When the meeting was over, she shared that her son had told her, “Mama, that woman has a lot of stories in her head.” He was right. I do. And there are many more I want to tell.