Where my ideas come from.

I’m pretty sure most of us have heard the adage, truth is stranger than fiction. I’ve also seen a quote attributed to Mark Twain saying it is stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense. Well, I guess in Mark Twain’s day science fiction wasn’t a big genre.  But it does make me think, even in science fiction, so many of the ideas out there have a root in reality.

And I have had people ask me how I come up with my story ideas.  A lot of the characters I write are conglomerations of people I know or have met over the course of my life. Some of the experiences are either ones I’ve had or have heard about. Or even read about, just with a twist. I’ve also read that there are no new ‘ideas’ just new ways of presenting them.

As an aspiring romance writer, that is the challenge. With 99% of romance books, the reader is guaranteed a happy ending. And more than likely there will be emotional, and physical, intimacy. But the details of the stories differ. The heroines are not all virginal English poppets with breasts heaving over the bodice of their gown at the first sight of the Duke, Marquis or Earl who will marry them to beget an heir and eventually fall in love.

I draw inspiration from the world around me. Vacations have now become an even better opportunity to not only study other areas of the county and get others’ view points. My hubby and I usually stay in bed and breakfasts or smaller establishments if possible. It gives us both a chance to talk to the locals and other guests because the atmospheres are more relaxed. On our trip to Boston we probably learned more about the city from our appropriated tour guide than from any guide book we could have purchased. Lt. Stoner was an invaluable insight to that city. We kind of followed a tour in progress then practically begged him to take us back to the starting point because we had no idea how to get back. It was possibly the best tour I’ve ever taken.

Lt. Stoner - Park Street Church, Boston

While some of the ideas and stories come from my imagination, a lot of it comes from talking to people. They give me ideas, or a different perspective on something. I have a very active imagination, but sometimes seeing a different point of view can help make a story more real. I think it might help keep my characters from becoming stagnant and the same from novel to novel.

Horse and Carriage

Seeing the things that others hold dear or how they go about their daily lives can be the biggest inspiration. These experiences we have on vacation can transport me back to that place and time as I sit in front of the computer far removed from it.  And I’m a picture taker. 1200 from Boston, 1800 from Pennsylvania, only 500 from Denver but those images help reignite the imagination.  And all I can say is thank you to whoever made the digital camera affordable!!

Cog railway to Pike's Peak, Colorado 2011

I guess my point is, inspiration is all around us.  From our travels to our families to our co-workers. Even in the daily headlines or simply watching the cloud cover clear and feeling the warmth of the emerging sun on our upturned faces. I think this also may stem from our attitudes. At least mine. When trying something new, I try not to think about how strange everything will be or what could go wrong. I try to keep an open mind and to let the experiences happen so I can live them.

Which brings me to another quote I’ve seen tweeted frequently. And I paraphrase.

“How can we presume to write about life if we’ve never lived?”

Where do you find inspiration?


One thought on “Where my ideas come from.

  1. Great post Melanie. Overactive imaginations are the best 🙂 I agree, traveling is a great way to get new insight into a location. Seeing the place from the local perspective is so much more satisfying than that of a tourist. The quirks, the sounds, the smells, the tastes — I want to find that hole-in-the-wall restaurant that has the best food on the planet.

    We had the best concierge in Paris who directed us to this small family owned restaurant. The wait staff took the time to teach us some of the finer points of a multi-course meal with the different wines for each. It was the best experience of our time in Paris. Hmmm…now I’m trying to think of a way to add that to a story 🙂

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