Writers are often asked “Where do you get your ideas?” We’ve learned a few quick answers: “From the girls in the basement”, or “I steal them”, or even “WalMart”. Every writer is different, but I’m sure we’re all alike in that it is difficult to define exactly where those stories come from. It’s a blend of many different sources, methods, ideas, etc.
I generally start a story with a basic idea of character, plot and where I want to see the hero and heroine go. But recently, my editor asked me for an idea for a new paranormal romance story. I drew a blank. I had no idea, beyond the vampires and werewolves I’ve been writing lately, what I wanted to write about. So I went to the Idea Store.
I’m a very visual writer, and usually after I’ve got that hero and heroine in my brain, I’ll look for pictures online that closely match the image of that person in my head. But for this new story idea, I had no idea who or what I wanted to write about. So I had to go shopping! Visuals always get the creative wheels turning in my head. One of my favorite things to do is surf artists’ websites. I like a lot of the computer-generated artwork, and most of it translates well to the fantasy/paranormal. So I thought I’d post a few of the pictures that struck me hard, and helped me decide ‘what’ I’d be writing about. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you look at this pic?
Something darker than angels came to my mind. And that set those story wheels turning, and then this next pic really put some interesting plot twists in my brain.
Doesn’t he look nasty? But what if he were the good guy? You see what kind of fun a writer can have playing with pictures and the ‘what if?’ game? Here’s one more that I love for my hero…
After an hour of collecting various artwork I had some great ideas brewing in my brain. Angels and demons rose to the top. And from there I began to plot. But it all started with some pictures and a couple ‘what ifs’.
So what about you? When you’re writing do you incorporate visuals to get ideas? As a reader, do you cast the characters? Do you think of movie stars in the various roles of hero, heroine and other characters. I do!