Those pesky little things, ideas. We need them for books to happen, but where do they come from?
I'm full of ideas. I have files of ideas on my computer, books waiting to happen. I even have a few works in progress that got set aside temporarily, because other ideas formed that are more important to me right now. After all, book 4 of the Forest Guardians series is nearing completion, and book 5 is already forming and ready for a full outlining.
When I first started book 3, Healer's Strength, I had a rough idea what book 4 was going to be about. Actually, during the writing of book 3 AIli threw a new idea at me. Book 4 became book 5, and a new book 4 developed, all because she had other ideas. I'm happy with the result, but I had a plan, darn it! Actually, book 3 formed from a single scene in book 2, as I had no inkling of what book 3 was going to be when I started book 2...
My ideas come from two places, really. The first is activities I love, such as martial arts or horses or sewing or cooking or anything like that. I wonder "what would it be like if..." and my imagination takes it from there. The second place I get ideas from is characters I create. For instance, Aili has taken on a life of her own and she regularly gives me ideas. What would happen if she encountered this, or saw that, etc...Even Andvari and Kyson will have a book about their younger Scout days at some point.
Where else do I get inspired? I love writing prompts. There are some excellent prompts out there on various webpages, but the best I've found through Pinterest. Sometimes they're a quick conversation between two characters, a few sentences at most, other times they're a single phrase. Who would say that? Why? I can always have fun with writing prompts.
Where else? Sometimes from quotes online. Some of my favourites are these:
If everything around you seems dark, look again, you may be the light. - Rumi
It's okay if you fall down and lose your spark. Just make sure that when you get back up, you rise as the whole damn fire. - Colette Werden (inspired a martial arts book I'm working on)
It's easy to listen to what you are taught. But it is difficult to find what you have within yourself and master it as your own. - Gogen Yamaguchi (inspired Aili and the Forest Guardians)
She is a true fighter, you can see it in her eyes. She was not born strong, she was made strong. She was sculpted to be her own hero when the world lets her down, and she keeps picking herself back up! - unknown (inspired a romance book under another pen name I use)
Characters are often inspired by people I know, or even other characters I love, though I make them my own. Sometimes they're a mashup of a few people who had similar traits. It's not just about their traits, but also about their hopes and dreams, what makes them want what they want. Even the "bad guy" is a hero in his own mind.
What inspires you?
I’ve been writing stories for myself for years. Now, I’m a published author. No genre is off limits, though I have some favorites.