WHERE DO MY IDEAS COME FROM? by Jane Myers Perrine
I’ve been asked this over and over: where do you get your ideas for your books?
I don’t know.
A writer friend tells people who ask that question that the ideas for her story come from a Wal-Mart outside Dallas. Writers find that funny. Non-writers don’t.
My ideas come from so many places. I read a book with a great title but the story didn’t fit at all. Very disappointing. So I thought, “What kind of story would I write if I used that title?” I came up with one which I liked much better than the other one, but, of course, I can’t tell you my title or that would give away what book I hadn’t liked.
Many times, the first sentence of a book comes into my brain from—I don’t know where. Perhaps I’ve read a book or an article in the newspaper or heard a few words on television and those burrow into my brain, take a little nap, and emerge days or weeks or years later as a new idea.
The first sentence that came to me for my Love Inspired THE PATH TO LOVE was this: “Francie Calhoun learned to pick pocket when she was five, mark cards at eight, and hotwire a care years before she could get a driver’s license.” Then I had to figure out who Francie was and what she did the rest of her life.
The same happened with my first Avalon, THE MAD HERRINGTONS. My first thought was, “’The Mad Herringtons. Blast them all,’ Aphrodite Herrington cursed to herself.” This gave me an idea that the heroine and her family didn’t get along but loved each other. I developed the story along those lines.
Our cocker spaniel gave me an idea for the beginning—a cute meet—in PERSY AND THE PRINCE, my second book from Avalon.
But I haven’t really answered the question. Where do I get my ideas? I haven’t the slightest idea. They come to me as a fully formed character or a few lines or an interesting plot twist--all perhaps the products of an oddly wired brain.
Can you think of some novels that have memorable first lines that drew you into a story and share them here? Or, writers, can you tell us where you got the idea for one of yours books?