Nancy is the author of the mystery Due Date available now! I want to thank Nancy appearing in this blog–you will find links to her web site, FB, and Twitter at the end of the article.
Where do ideas come from?
by Nancy Wood
There was a fascinating post recently on our Solstice Authors Facebook page about where ideas for books come from. Some authors said they loved to people-watch and all their ideas came from observing human nature. Others said their ideas came from real-world events or events they experienced in high school. One author said she liked to think of all the things she couldn’t do or places she couldn’t visit in the real world and translate that to paper.
It’s the eternal question about creativity. There’s a great Ted Talk given by Elizabeth Gilbert on the nature of creativity and how every person has a “genius” that is often ruined as we go through life. (http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html) What I’ve found through the author interviews on my website (http://nancywood-books.com/author-interviews.html) is that ideas come from everywhere and are as varied as people’s interests: Dan Springer, my host, always loved mysteries and is a gadget geek, so writing a mystery where technology played a major role made perfect sense to him. Another author, Joyce Strand, a Corporate Communications director, and decided to build a new career that would take advantage of her writing skills. Nancy Curteman loves to travel – her mysteries are based on areas in the world that she’s travelled to. Colleen Collins is a PI in real life, so she is writing what she knows. Author Kelly Abell was inspired by an event she heard on the news. And Carl Brush has always been interested in California history and social justice, so writing a historical novel set in 1910 in San Francisco gave him an opportunity to explore these themes in fiction.
Some well-known authors are quite open about where their ideas come from. Gillian Flynn, author of the blockbuster GONE GIRL, said she wanted to write a dark psychological thriller about two people who know each other really, really well. (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/gone-girl-author-gillian-flynn-395337) Tana French got the idea for her first book, INTO THE WOODS, when she was working as a temp on an architectural dig near a Dublin forest. (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/27/books/tana-french-finds-her-niche-in-dark-themes.html?_r=0) Agatha Christie scribbled in notebooks; the notes show that her ideas came from the ordinary: an overheard conversation, a newspaper story, a trip to the theater. (http://agathachristie.com/about-christie/how-christie-wrote/plotting-and-notebooks/)
Ideas are as varied as we are. If you’re a writer or author, leave a comment! Where do your ideas come from? If you’re a reader, have you ever thought of an idea that would make a great story? Tell us about it!