A friend recently asked me if the hardest part of writing a book is coming up with the idea. She’d read an article where Suzanne Collins talked about being inspired while channel-surfing between reality TV and coverage of the war in Iraq. The result: The Hunger Games.
The short answer to my friend’s question is a simple no. Ideas are everywhere – good ideas, bad ideas, ideas that look good on the surface but turn out to be bad, and vice versa. As Neil Gaiman said, “You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.” Taking that spark of an idea and turning it into a full-length novel, or series, is definitely much harder than generating the idea in the first place.
Having said that, ideas are fun! And they do give us writers a place to start. So, today I thought I’d share a couple of the sparks that fired up my own imagination.
Spark: What would I do if I looked into a mirror and saw an object in the reflection that wasn’t actually in the room with me?
Spark: The quiet chuckle of a rugged gardener, as he watches a perfectly dressed ‘princess’ try to figure out how to get to the far side of a mud puddle without ruining her shoes.
Result: Lost in Amber
Spark: When Jeremy needed a true love of his very own (at the end of Everything We Need), I was struck by the idea that his wit and warmth was destined to bring light back to a man who had spent too long fighting against the dark.
Result: All the Broken Pieces
Spark: A comedy about a rock star who is well-known for his narcissism and bad behaviour in public, but secretly enjoys knitting and watching soap operas.
Result: Finding Grey (still in the works)
Okay, so Finding Grey has undergone some changes since that original idea came to me in the middle of a traffic jam one day. Dante isn’t into knitting or soap operas, and the book is technically not a comedy (although it does often make me laugh out loud), but the rest still fits. There is more to my gorgeous rock star than his tantrum-throwing, hotel-trashing reputation would have you believe.