Finding The Story


Have  you ever wonder where the inspiration for a story idea comes from?  How do people like Stephen King, Terry Brooks, Jim Butcher, and Janet Evanovitch conceive the horror, fantasy, mystery and suspenseful idea’s that give them story after story.  Do they go off on long retreats where they lay next to a pool, soaking in the sun (obviously anywhere outside of the Pacific Northwest), drinking something tall and cool while meditating on a variety of themes, character and plot lines that they believe will be viable reading material in let’s say, two to three years (a year to write the book, another one to two to get it published, marketed etc)? Maybe they’re brooders:  individuals who start with a vague concept and then spend days, weeks, even months ruminating over it until it begins to take shape. Or maybe they’re the overnight success type who woke up at 2:30 in the morning, had an epiphany – wrote it down and ‘WHAM!’ – became instant bestseller.

Whatever means each of these well-known authors uses to gain inspiration for the creation (and continual ) adventures of their equally well-known fictional characters,  there has had to have been as many false starts as there were successful ones. Every writer has a process that he or she has to go through in order to bring a story from conception – gestation – to birth.  Whether their inspiration arrives while sitting at the pool,  watching a movie, reading similar genre, hanging out at their favorite dives or doing things with a family whose unique dysfunctional traits are the bedrock of American society, each writer-author has their own distinctive process that helps them uncover the story.

For fun I’ve added  interview’s that were done with some of my favorite author’s on this very subject.  It was refreshing to realize that it takes all kinds….including you and me.

An Interview with Stephen King
by Phil Konstantin

Phil:  “…how do you get inspiration for your stories, or does it also come from day-to-day events, a phrase you may hear, or even from suggestions you get from fans?”Stephen:  I get inspiration, a lot of times, from very commonplace things that just strike a chord and develop themselves in the subconscious. Sometimes it’s something a little bit more sensational than that.

Stephen:  “I get inspiration, a lot of times, from very commonplace things that just strike a chord and develop themselves in the subconscious. Sometimes it’s something a little bit more sensational than that.”

“The Apocalypse Is Coming: An Interview with Terry Brooks  By Sandy Auden

Sandy: “How much information do you need in advance?”

Terry: “I need about 50 percent of the details work out. I try to think most of it to some extent but even in writing the book I don’t know all the answers when I start. I think that would be quite presumptuous. The writing of the book always determines how the story is going to go and things can change no matter how much you think about it beforehand.”

The Wizard Interview with Jim Butcher                                      By (Author Unknown)

Author Unknown:  “What is the first thing you do when you start a book?”

Jim Butcher:“The first thing I like to do is to figure out the whole story–not tiny step by step, but generally speaking. I want to know what problem my characters are going to be facing, what they want to do to fix it, and what’s going to get in their way. Generally speaking, I have an idea for two or three dramatic scenes that I really want to do, so I try to get everything I want in the story down on a huge piece of paper. Then I sit down and start working out how to get in everything I want to, while making sure that it makes sense with regards to all of the characters and with what they know.

I doodle and plan until I’m ready to explode, and then I start chapter one, and write straight through to the end.”

So What Do You Do, Janet Evanovich, Bestselling Novelist?   By Jeff Rivera

Jeff: “You’ve written somewhere close to 45 books, some under a pseudonym. How do you keep your writing fresh?”

Janet Evanovich:  “I think that you have to continue to live and get new experiences that relate to the people you are writing about. I spend a lot of time in bars and shopping centers, and I go to NASCAR races, and I hang out with my crazy relatives, and I prowl South Beach. I think that stuff kind of gets moving around in your head and helps to give you new ideas. I have a family, we are very close, we are like a little herd. We all live together within three minutes of each other, and when I am running out of ideas, somebody always has one.”

Sometimes when I’m struggling with the journey of writing my first novel, I go get a refill on the  cup a joe, head out to the internet and read how my hero’s get through the process. Then renewed in vigor and determination I go back to the story, change out the joe for water and start typing away …again.

From the laptop of an uncensored dreamer,


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