Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Stephenie Meyer had a dream, wrote it down, expanded on it, and sold it in 6 months.

I'm pretty sure J.K. Rowling once said that the entire plot of Harry Potter just fell into her head one day.

Does that ever happen to any of you? Me, neither.

My first full MS started when I sat myself down (well, I was driving) and decided to try to write a story that challenged people's perceptions of things and that used a magical creature that hadn't been done to death already. So I decided to make people think pixies were cool--and not just for children.

That was the beginning. It took years to figure out what the plot would be.

My current WIP actually started with a scene that kept bugging me until I wrote it down... but the scene won't fit anywhere in the current book. The character in the scene won't fit into the book. I have all new characters. The only thing that's at all similar to the original scene is the magic system.

The next idea that's niggling at me deals with challenging established class systems. I have a vague idea who the hero and heroine might be (as in their societal roles) and I'm trying to flesh out the magic system... but I have no clue what they want or how the magic might help.

Nope, my stories come through blood, sweat, and tears. False starts. Deleted chapters. Rewritten endings and trashed beginnings.

How about you? Where do you get your ideas? (Might as well practice answering this question now, before you get published.) :)


  1. Mine start with dreams or idea. ACoP started out as a dream about a guy and a girl stranded on a tropical island. I just had to figure out how they got there. And I wrote it first in third person, but 12,000 words into it and I knew it was all wrong.

    My SciFi also began its life as a dream. I love the questioning that has to take place when I get an idea. The WIP I'm editing right now started because I'd had lasik and as a result you have these halos around lights. It got me thinking and it just morphed from there.

    "Harry" fell into Jo Rowling's head complete. The rest of the world/story took five years of writing copious notes before she crafted the first book.

    I wish I was that organized.

  2. The story that I am writing comes from a Dungion and Dragon's campaign that I ran between the fall of 1995 and 1998. Those who played in the game along with my wife urged me to write our adventures. Especially since we were not able to finish the story to its conclusion.

    Once I came to realize this in 2000 I spent the next ten years (on and off) refining the stories, figuring out where they were going, changing the characters as needed, reducing un-necissary plot threads until I started to write the stories in late 2009.

    I am almost to organized which is why I didn't want to start writing book one until I knew how all all of the threads in the story would play out. But I am glad I did because I am very happy with how the story has developed.

    I just wish my wife had more time to write then she does (taking care of our kids, her dad, and her grandmother does take a lot of time and effort), but she is making progress. Of course, without her work on the book, I doubt that anyone would want to publish it.

    In coming up with stories, I can visualize them in my head as I think about them and as I write them down. And as I write what I see into words, it is like I am seeing them and experiancing them first hand.

  3. Well, my first book did come to me whole and in an instant. But the second isn't working out to be the same experience, so I feel your pain. Still, just the other day, I had another idea come to me whole and in an instant. I jotted the premise and plot down so I wouldn't forget while sweating and bleeding over my still-in-progress second book.

  4. Weird ... I posted about this same thing today. :) I get my ideas everywhere. Books, movies, pictures, music. I get my best ideas in the shower or while I'm driving. Random, yes. :)

  5. I liked the idea of a YA version of Dexter. A 17 year old girl on the inside of the legal system.

  6. It must be something in the creative air. I too blogged about this today: The story I talk about there came to me in a dream. I've had this happen several times, but it's not the only way I get ideas.

    Scion started as a short novella I wrote for my kids at xmas about 4 years ago. I've since put in countless hours refining the magic system and meticulously plotting out the action. It's been a long, hard push to the end, but I've enjoyed the work.

    -- david j.

  7. My first novel came from my own life, probably like many writers. I wasn't trying to write a novel, just have some closure. My second book stemmed from just really loving bucket lists and wanting to set a novel in the place where I spent my summers growing up-I've since went back and put a fantasy twist on it since that's what book #3, 4, & 5 will be. I've written the first 60 pgs & mapped out book 3 & 4. Book 3 came from my cousin being diagnosed with cancer. Book 4, the MC I based on what I imagine my daughter's personality to be at 16 & from a book I read, The Jesus I Never Knew--which was a Christian Living book but I started thinking, what if Jesus came back now, as a teen? Book 5 is based on the issues facing America now and then imagining their impact 50 yrs down the road, kind of Hunger Games inspired.

    So no, they don't come to me in dreams, but that would be AWESOME!!