The above quote really described my writing process. In a previous post, I wrote about being a ‘plotter’ or a ‘pantser’. I’m a ‘plotter’ and need to know the direction of my story.
That doesn’t mean I am strict or regimented in my writing. I like to see where my characters want to take me–and often they surprise me–but I can gently lead them in the direction of my plot. Otherwise, my stories tend to wander around too much.
When I write my fairy stories, you can be sure that I have pictures of Ireland on my computer and a nice cup of tea steaming at the side of my laptop.
When I write about Guinness the Therapy Dog, I like to watch him as he plays with his sister, Lucy. A lot of the time, he’s laying on the floor at my feet or resting his chin on my leg as he begs for a nice petting session.
I get inspiration from everything that’s around me. Hopefully, that flavors my writing and helps with the general mood and descriptions for you, the reader.
One of the questions I am frequently asked is: “How do you come up with your ideas?”
The quick answer is that ideas are everywhere. I simply have to look around and see what interests me.
The long answer is that an idea comes to me and I mentally inspect all its edges and corners to see if it is truly interesting. If it doesn’t hold my attention, or if I can’t see a series of drawings in the text, then I file it away as a partial idea. No idea is sent away for good!
Every idea has value. If you think it up, or it comes to you as you take a walk or stare out the window, then you should pursue it. Sometimes these ideas aren’t sturdy enough to stand on their own. Sometimes they have too much to them and need to be pared down. But they mean something and can be a part of a lovely story. It may not be the story you intended, but give your story a little freedom and it can surprise you (more on this another day!).
I will write more about using ideas on a later date. For now, have the courage to take out one of your ideas and make it into a story. You never know where it will take you until you give it wings.