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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ideas. Where do they come from?

For me, ideas come easily. While in college and taking marketing classes, I would get my greatest thoughts while driving back and forth to work or school.

I still get awesome ideas for new books while in the car, however they're not the entire story. They are usually just the preliminaries without the guts of the story. And that is the hard part. Numerous stories are started with enthusiasm and gusto because I know this book will be the one I finish.

Not so. Once past what I call the "honeymoon stage" my story falters and poops out. What the heck, I ask myself. Now what to do?

Back to the car and drive around to get my idea for a new book. That is what I used to do. I have fallen into the abyss of beginning numerous books with a sorry plot and no ending.

Remember the little engine that could? The train would go up the hill, plugging away, full steam ahead and get to the top of the tracks and teeter on the edge. Hanging there and stuck or waiting for a nudge.

My friend, Kim told me something very valuable--stop starting a new novel and just keep writing.

That nudge or idea needs to come from me with the help of my characters.

So now when I find myself lingering or stuck, I write several scenarios of the scene and practice WWMCD. What Would My Character Do?

I visualize several forks in the road or many forks. Or many closed doors and the character needs to choose either door number one, two, three, four and so on.

This is the tough part in obtaining ideas. Watching TV helps as I see something exciting, odd or wildly outlandish and model it to fit my character's situation. People-watching is helpful as well. Mannerisms can trigger something in my head and I'll shape it to my novel.

I have so many life experiences, especially with friends and family. I don't want to emulate a direct situation so I tweak it. Add some flare, a spark or something wildly different.

Writing prompts offer me a workout for my brain--getting my juices flowing.

There is also a way of planning or hatching new ideas by using the Snowflake Method. This process provides structure and a more defined way to clearly put your ideas in order and/or plot. A definite must for myself.

The above are just a few ways that I obtain ideas and where I go from here. In future blogs, I am going to follow-up with the snowflake writing methodology step-by-step. Stay tuned . . . .


  1. I'm looking forward to hearing about your experiences with the snowflake method. I'm always up for learning something new.

    1. Thanks *lizzie! I hope you and I both learn something!! :-)

  2. Nice blog, Dee Ann. Have you read Writing on Both Sides of the Brain by Henriette Klauser? It explains why ideas come to us in the car, the shower, upon awakening, while walking.

    1. No, I haven't read that but I will put that on my "To Read" list. Does it have to do with stimulation? Interesting. Thank you for the info, Cher!

  3. I loved this! I'm with you -- I've found the initial ideas aren't as difficult for me as is herding my characters towards the end. It always reminds me of the old cat-herding commercial from a few years ago. I posted this to my blog at

    1. Thank you, I do feel like the little engine that could but maybe I'm the big caboose. I don't know. hehehe Love your blog!