At times my mind is a swirling vortex of stories, characters, real and fake towns, and situations. I am a writer and I can help but imagine that other writers experience the same thing. There are simply not enough hours in the day to functionally pull together all of my ideas into a reader worthy story.
A few weeks ago I participated in a panel discussion with three other authors. One question we were asked and one I get asked all the time, “Where do you get your story ideas?” Story ideas are everywhere! Give me a word, situation, place, or the beginnings of a character and I can come up with a story.
If I’m watching the news and the story is about a corrupt politician taking money that isn’t his (let’s face it, it’s almost always a HE), my mind drifts to a place that has him using his ill-gotten gains to wine, dine, and bed someone who is not his spouse. And what about the someone in this scenario? What’s her story? Expectations of the relationship? Motive for getting caught up in the situation in the first place?
Let’s not forget about the wife. Does she know or care what’s going on? Should her story solicit sympathy? Scorn? Ambivalence? Oh, the possibilities!
One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that as I’ve gotten older, so have my characters. It’s fairly easy for me to conjure up romantic antics of characters who are older (forty and up). Contrary to popular belief, sexiness does not fall off a cliff and die after one’s 40th or 50th birthday.
Case in point, we all know an older woman whose style and fierceness belie her age. She’s funny, smart, put together, confident in her own skin, and (dare I say?) sexy as hell. Then there’s the older man. Bald or salt and pepper (depends on my mood), always dressed to impress, polite, a gentleman, and can take care of all kinds of business. He might also have an edgy side, rides a big, loud Harley Davidson (ahem, my preference). Or he has some hidden talent or endearing characteristic – cooking, mentoring to at-risk youth, or is just so darn handy. Think tool belt hung low over well-fitting jeans…
Put these two characters together and you have the makings of an amazing story and some serious chemistry. Oh, what I could do with those two characters!
So you see, it doesn’t take much to get me going. There are always people in my head waiting for their story to be told. All it takes is a brief conversation, a picture, and pretty or handsome face and my next novel is born! Ideas are all around, so be careful what you say to me. It might end up in my next book!