Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ideas and Inspiration: When Thinking Makes It So

I discovered the lovely prose written by Will Shakespeare during my junior high years, that awful, angst filled time when most of us feel clumsy, unattractive, and often clueless.  I first read one of his plays in my mother's old English lit textbook and then I began checking out the single plays available in paperback format from the school library.  Despite the archaic words, I found a beauty in his words and a wisdom that I took to heart. Then I watched a live performance of "Romeo and Juliet" performed by a traveling theatre repretory company and sat transfixed as the actors breathed life into the old plays.  Their delivery brought the age old words alive and made them relevant.

In Hamlet, Shakespeare wrote a line of dialog that Hamlet speaks...."for there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so."

Now that I am able to call myself an author, I find one of the questions that I most often field is "where do you get your ideas?" or "what inspires you".   Although I've been tempted once or twice to tell them I order ideas in bulk from an online supply source, I never have - instead I just tell them the truth.

Inspiration surrounds all of us.  It's there if you look for it but you have to open your eyes.  So are ideas.  Every idea, whether it's for a novel or a great invention, begins with a single thought.   Many of mine begin with "What if"?

The premise behind my Love Covenant series at Evernight began as a stray thought, after realizing that 95% of the traffic on the late night highway I traveled happened to be eighteen wheelers, truckers heading somewhere with a load or on the way home.  I wondered, what if a vampire became a truck driver? It seemed like an ideal occupation if that vampire wanted to blend with society and within days, that idea led to a full-blown concept, a story blooming in my head about a truck driving Irish vampire who was once a highwayman.  The romance entered the scene when I came up with sassy, fast talking, singer Cara Riley, a Texas gal on her way to Nashville who just happened to run across Will Brennan at a roadside stop.  One kiss changed her direction and since the third book, Love Knots, in the series just debuted this past week, that single idea - a vampire trucker - obviously grew into much more.

(And for those prospective readers who would to start reading the Love Covenant series, this is your lucky week - book #1 Love Tattoo is featured this week at Evernight Publishing for just 99 cents!  Start reading and save!)

My first Evernight Publishing release, Wolfe's Lady, came out of an idea I had one afternoon while serving as a subsitute teacher at the local high school.  I thought about a new teacher falling for the hot and hunky math teacher down the hall....who just happened to have a secret.  Before I could blink, I found myself scribbling notes about a storyline.  

All of my fiction, novel, novella, or short story length, all begin with just on idea.  It may be a "What if" question or a single scene.   If it's a scene, I must figure out who is doing what, why, and where they proceed from that point.

I've always had ideas galore but now I write them down.  I keep a notebook of ideas, possible titles and yes, I even will get up in the middle of the night to jot down an idea rather than risk losing it forever.

As Hamlet says, nothing is either good or bad until we make it so.

As writers, we take our ideas, those momentary flickers or questions and then we make it into a story. We weave it into a tale and if we succeed, we suspend reality for a short time while the reader enters the place of our own creation peopled by figments of our imagination.

Don't let a stray one escape - it might be the one that will grow into the best story of all!


Carolyn Rosewood said...

Great blog post, Lee Ann! I really enjoyed reading how your ideas come to you. :)

Anonymous said...

Great post - Shakespeare lover here too!