Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Novel Ideas

Before a writer sits down to write a novel, they've got to have an idea of what they want to write. But where do ideas come from?

I've heard other authors say they might see an article in the news, and they'll take it one step further by asking,"what if?" Some writers take a family story and embellish the details and create a new plot. Some writers stumble across an idea overhearing strangers talking.

My book that's currently being shopped around was birthed by a writing prompt: Unidentifiable antique, the scent of pipe tobacco and the drizzle of rain – make a scene.

The prompt was part of an online interview to promote Out of Her Hands, and the scene I created haunted me. It was shrouded in mystery -- possibilities unexplored. One day during my lunch break the first paragraph of The Lady in the Locket dropped into my mind. I quickly wrote it down, and I was off. Of course then I had to figure out the mystery and create a plot. By the way, the scene that inspired the book doesn't appear until the end of the first third of the book.

The photo above was part of the inspiration for my wip (work in progress). About 23 or so years ago, my Aunt Kathryn gave me this picture on one of her visits. It was taken in March 1913 during a flood that impacted much of the Capitol District of New York State. This particular photo was taken in South Troy, where my family lived. Somewhere along the line, the idea to write a time travel historical novel began to dance around my imagination. When I was pondering the era to transport my character into, I recalled the photo and began to research the flood, Troy, NY, and the beginning of the last century. I marinated the plot for a while, and now I'm about half finished with The Journey's of Margaret Caruso.

Writers, can you share how you land on an idea? Readers, what do you think would be a good plot to a novel?


csyusten said...

I just thought about this one yesterday: What if they closed down new entries into grade school next year. So basically, the kids currently in school would be permitted to complete their 13 years but that kindergarten class would be the last. In my life, I would have one child go through school ond one just miss it. I've been trying to imagine the consequences of such a drastic change.

Jaime Wright said...

Mmmm, I love that picture Megan! Great intriguing plot - you have me already and I hardly know anything about it :)

My ideas come from a variety of places but typically a setting inspires me. My current WIP is my favorite lighthouse and vacation spot. Other times, it's an old house with walls that have ghostly whispers but can't quite communicate the story of their history ...s o I have to do it for them! :)

Megan DiMaria said...

Great ideas, Crystal and Jamie. Thanks for stopping by!