People often ask me where I get my ideas from. My answer: a combination of observation and inspiration.
You’ve probably heard of the 2003 film, Love Actually, that presents the idea that love is actually all around us, all the time. The same can be said of inspiration. No matter how uninspired you might feel, inspiration, actually, is all around.
If you’re feeling stuck for an idea, don’t just sit there glaring at the page/screen and tapping your pen/the keys impatiently saying, “Come on, come on, Muse. Where are you?” (And don’t go raid the fridge either. Your muse isn’t hiding in the biscuit jar!)
Go for a walk. Empty your mind and concentrate on your senses. What can you see? What can you hear? What smells are in the air?
If you see something strange, ask yourself what events could have lead to this occurrence. Why did the much beloved ginger cat on the ‘Have you seen Fluffy?’ poster run away from home? Why did the young man with the leather jacket slam his car door? Who are the lovers whose initials are carved into that tree in the park?
Many of my stories have started from a single, seemingly insignificant observation. For instance, one time, whilst passing through a friend’s kitchen, I noticed a basket full of scones sitting on the bench. It looked so sweet, so idyllic, the freshly baked scones covered with a blue-checked cheesecloth. It put me in mind of fairytales and paintings of girls with long hair and frilly dresses picking flowers along the garden path. An image of Little Red Riding Hood came to mind, basket of goodies hang over one arm, off to Grandma’s place.
It occurred to me that girls don’t do that these days. I tried to picture it. Why would a modern day girl be skipping about with a basket on her arm? And then there she was, Sally Hudson, making deliveries for her one woman business: Sweet Sally’s Bakery Treats!
She became the heroine for my story Worth Waiting For .
Sally, or Sweet Sally as she’s known, isn’t off to see one grandma but many, as she’s making deliveries to the residents of the Spring Haven Hill retirement village, namely a dear, old couple called Pat and Doris Elliot who are the grandparents of Sally’s ex, Flynn Elliot, with whom she’s still in love.
Worth Waiting For is not a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. That basket of scones and the images it brought up were just the spark, a starting point from which my story took off in a completely different direction and became a contemporary romance about two sweethearts getting a second chance at love.
A spark is all you need; the kindling is already inside you and it just takes a tiny spark to set your imagination ablaze. So, whenever you’re feeling stuck for an idea just remember that inspiration is, actually, all around you.
Thanks for reading,
Author Bio: Ever since I learned to read, I could always be found with my nose in a book–even when I was supposed to be doing something else!
I love the magic of stories, love following the twists and turns, love getting to know the strange and wonderful characters and experiencing their stories with them.
I remember a poster stuck to my bedroom wall when I was a kid. A wizard in splendid, purple robes was summoning a dragon in an explosion of red and gold flames. In a way, writers are wizards, summoning stories and souls from the wilderness of their imagination.
I live in Australia where I write and read and marvel at the blueness of the sky.
Jessica finds herself trying to choose between three men. She’s an up front, pro-active sort of woman. So instead of staying home alone or attempting to see each of her suitors behind the backs of the other two, she invites out the three men. Gym-junkie Brad, workaholic Saul and BFF Jimmy. She explains the problem of her conflicted heart and, she tells them what her solution is. She’ll date all three!
When Josephine takes her niece whale watching she has no idea what she’s getting herself into. Their little catamaran becomes the target of a wicked 19th century pirate called Captain Bloody who uses a magical device to plunder seafaring vessels from the future and use their technologies to make people in his own time think he’s a god. Josephine finds herself on a black-sailed Galleon in the wrong time, surrounded by bloodthirsty pirates and the captive of Captain Bloody who has taken her as his share of the ‘booty’. But before Josephine can say yo-ho-ho captain Bloody’s nemesis, the infamous Captain Breakheart crashes through the cabin window and steals her for himself! Now Josephine must team up with the pirate to find the magical device that will get her back to her own time to save her niece- that’s if she can survive the many dangers of their journey and resist the charms of the dashing captain Breakheart!
Three years after breaking Sally’s heart by mysteriously ending their relationship, Flynn Elliot is back in town. Sally soon discovers that she’s still in love with Flynn but he’s changed. Both Flynn’s new attitude and his new girlfriend are vain, shallow and materialistic.
Sally’s head tells her the man she loved is gone and she should forget about him but her heart tells her that there’s more than meets the eye to Flynn’s apparent transformation and behind the façade the real Flynn is still there and their love is worth giving a second chance.
Will Sally listen to her head or her heart?
Dora and her fellow models are called cats because they earn their money walking up and down a catwalk. But they have other feline qualities, such as grace, beauty, excessive grooming and, of course, an instinct for cattiness.