Sunday, July 16, 2017

Where Do Writers Get Ideas? by Diane Burton

Readers often ask writers where we get our ideas. I thought I’d share something with you that might answer that question. Yesterday, Hubs and I drove up to nearly the tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula to pick up our two grandkids from summer camp. On the way home, they regaled us with their adventures—swimming, crafts, etc. Then they settled down and quietly read. That got me thinking . . . Well, what else does a writer do on an eight-hour road trip?

Have I ever mentioned I love Young Adult stories? From Harry Potter to the Hunger Games to Divergent, and I Am Four. I’m fascinated by the stories available to young readers. (Where were those books when I was young?) A while back, I wrote a science fiction YA story. Haven’t published it because I didn’t have anything to follow up with. But . . . while returning from the kids’ camp, I thought about a camp for middle-school age kids. That’s nothing new. Rick Riordan wrote the Percy Jackson series, where the kids at Camp Half Blood (in present-day upper New York State) learn sword play and how to use their supernatural gifts to triumph over the “bad” gods, goddesses, the Fates, Furies, etc.

Since I enjoy writing science fiction adventure, my story would take place on a planet in another world, one I developed for my unpubbed YA. At my camp, the staff could be part of a faction that wants to overthrow the current regime. Along with the usual swimming, games, crafts, they teach the kids something insidious, something to help them with their cause.

Obviously, I’m only playing with the idea at this point. What happens when I start to write? What will the finished product look like? Probably little like the initial ideas. That’s the fun part of writing. Taking an idea, developing it (and the world), then putting fingers on the keyboard and seeing what happens next.

From picking up grandkids at summer camp to a story. That’s how a writer gets ideas.

Apologies for missing my regular posting day on Thursday. I could blame it on chaos on the home front. My Arizona family (son, DIL, Toddler Girl, a Great Dane, and a Lab) just moved in with us until they can find a home. Yay! We’ll all be in the same town for the first time in twenty years. Or I could blame missing my date on a laptop that wouldn’t open, even after 3 trips to Best Buy’s Geek Squad. In actuality, I forgot.

I'll be back next month on my regular blogging date, the 13th. Have a great summer.


CJ Burright said...

Just proves that writing ideas can come from anywhere! An alien summer camp sounds like a great one. :)

Francesca Quarto said...

Very true that kids can be a boundless source of imaginative story lines and adventures for our characters. Just watching them or listening to them stirs memories of secret places I played in my youth, or things that scared me half to death. Kids are great for nudging the young-me into imaginary places. Today, I call that finding material!

Thanks for sharing , Diane!

Francesca Q.

Maureen said...

I love those YA stories. Although I've haven't yet read Percy Jackson but my girls absolutely adore that series.

Diane Burton said...

CJ, I'm having a great time figuring out where to go with that story.

Francesca, kids are amazing. Their imaginations are so unfettered.

Maureen, I'm glad your girls are enjoying the Percy Jackson series. When I took Latin in h.s., I learned about the Roman gods and goddesses and their Greek counterparts. It's so interesting to read Riordan's stories with them as major players. I read that the series started as bedtime stories for his son.

Nancy Gideon said...

Sounds like a great idea, Di!!! I love YA series, too! I still remember all the great brain storming sessions we had "on the road" to writers' meetings. Create when the mood moves you and sometimes when you have the chance to move it.

Diane Burton said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Nancy. You always know the right thing to say. I sure do remember those road trips. I love sharing rides to meetings. Makes the trip go faster and it's always great to brainstorm.