Authors get this question a lot. And it’s a question that it’s easy to kind of shrug and say, “I don’t know. They just come to me.”
But that’s probably not the answer most people are looking for. And since I had a great idea for a story this weekend, I thought I’d talk about the most common place that authors, particularly me, get story ideas from: life.
I live in the Washington, DC, area, so over the weekend, I took my daughter to the American Folklife Festival, which focused on circuses. It was a great deal of fun and while we were watching a flying trapeze act, I though the circus would be a great place to set a romance novel. I’ve got some ideas percolating at the moment, and hope to be able to write something for the fall. The point is, a lot of ideas are like that. They simply come when you’re out enjoying life and you see something interesting and go, that would make a great story. Once I had that in mind, I watched and listened for anything useful I could glean. We attended a great session on the language of the circus, and learned some interesting phrases that are particular to the circus, as well as customs. For example, you’re never supposed to enter clown alley (where the clowns put their makeup on) without permission. If you do, they’ll pelt you with powder socks (the appliques for their makeup). So, that kind of thing was quite interesting and full of fodder for a book.
In terms of my fairy tales, which are retellings of old classics, I obviously look to old classics for inspiration. The tales are old and they’ve traveled so well because the base of the story is excellent. I just add a few finishing touches to make the story different for those who loved the original, but want to see a slight twist on it.
That’s all for today. Hope you’re having a fabulous week.