What inspires my stories…
Turning it off is the problem
I think I’m like most writers, I have a ton of ideas and not enough time to get them all down. The ones I think I’ll remember I don’t. I’ve learned to write down anything that I think I might want to use later on. My muse likes to bombard me with plots and scenes and people until I put the brakes on and choose one to play with for a while. It’s not turning it on that’s the problem, it’s turning it off.
Here’s how it works for me. Inspiration for ideas come from anything and everything. Seriously. I see someone flip a page and I’ll start the ‘what if’ game. What if the person had no fingers. What if the person had suction cups on their fingers. What if in turning that page, they are transported to another world. What if they were on the moon doing that. The fun part is to connect things I normally wouldn’t link or think of in my everyday life.
The Ideas have to Grow
I play this game with different things I see until I find something that really intrigues me. I take a simple thing I see, hear, smell, taste, sense, feel, and take it out of context, put it in some other situation – real or imagined – and then I play with it like a puzzle. Move this piece here, move that piece there, until I find I have something really interesting. Sometimes this will happen right away and other times, I need to leave it ruminate around in my brain for a while and let the ideas pop out naturally. I then choose to either keep playing with the stories that are forming or I let them go. If they are going somewhere I like and feel like they would easily grow, I tend to keep them. If they don’t, I’ve learned to let them go. Other times, they seem to get lost in the abyss of my mind.
My muse never really takes a break.
Needless to say, my brain is pretty active most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned to shut it down so that I have quiet time, however it doesn’t always play by my rules. And it doesn’t always just choose the convenient hours to play this game. Some days I’ll be busy doing something and this brilliant (well it seems like it at the time but sometimes it isn’t once I really look at it) idea will come to me. Some nights, I’ll wake in the middle of the night with a fully formed idea, scene, outline. So then I scramble to get it down on paper so that I won’t lose it. Do you ever get up in the middle of the night to write down your brilliant idea? I used to do that all the time but don’t anymore. I now know that as long as I keep my mind open and searching, ideas are plenty.
Choose One and Grow It
After I have an idea I like, I’ll start looking at what the story could be – the back story, who the characters are, where it is happening, why it is happening…. and on and on until my story is built and it is something I like. That’s what happened with Captured Lies. The idea started simply enough from a plane flying rather low over us. The ‘what ifs’ started coming to me. I ignored it for a while but then the story kept bugging me and soon I was writing scenes in my head. That’s when I knew I better start getting it down on paper.
Something I have learned over time is to be choosy about the stories that I write down. I don’t write down every idea, like I used to. If I am in the middle of writing a book but think it might be something, I’ll jot down some notes but I won’t take time to flesh it out then. Later once I am finished what I am currently writing, then I will play with it. If it grows easily, I will keep going with it, if it doesn’t, then I drop it and move on. Way too many ideas to get hooked on one.
My muse is really demanding, entertaining, and fun – now that I’ve learned how to harness it. Well at least most of the time. How do you manage your muse?
Multi-Award winning author, Maggie Thom. Author of The Caspian Wine Series – Captured Lies (Book of the Month – LAS Reviews and Reader’s Favorite Finalist) and Deceitful Truths and Split Seconds (Suspense/Thriller Book of the Year 2017). The Twisted Deception Series – Fostered Identity, Shadowed Footsteps, Exploited Innocence with more to come. And her other published novels, Tainted Waters (2013 Suspense/Thriller Book of the Year through Turning the Pages Magazine), Deadly Ties, Fractured Lines and Blurred Lines (you can get free on this website – see below)
Her motto: Read to escape… Escape to read…
“Maggie Thom writes a fast paced thriller laced with romance that keeps the reader interested and on edge!” InDtale Magazine