Site icon Joan Wiley

Novel Ideas: How I Conceive Them

There have been those who have asked me “How do you do it? Where do you get the ideas for your stories?”

Some have assumed that my stories are based upon real events, taken directly from my life or that of others. Or  that I am using writing as the method for working out some sort of pent up frustrations and dark fantasies. 😳

Hmmm. I just want to say:

“No, Margo. Some people actually have an imagination.”😁

But seriously, I do think that for some people the “how” of writing fiction is a genuine mystery. Perhaps the writer’s mind does not function the same way as others – the normals. The whole left-brain vs. right-brain theory, with the right-brain being creative and artistic, and the left being logical.

Or mayhap, I simply conjure stories into being by waving my magic wand over a bubbling cauldron. 💀

Or, even better – as Gnarls Barkley sang: “Maybe, I’m crazy!”

The process of story conception really could be considered a kind of magic. Let me explain how the hoodoo works in my world:

1. Strands of Intriguing Concepts – Generally, these are oneliners that arise from a conversation, a news story, or something I see in public, or a picture, a daydream, or as my brain unwinds when I’m falling asleep. These notions spin around in my head as my imagination considers and chases after the possibilities and what if’s of a story. In this process, which does not require any strain of the brain – my mind is simply wandering in the land of ideas.

2. What is in a Name: On occasion, I have simply, and inexplicably had the name of a character drift into my head. The name often brings to mind a certain appearance of the character, too. When this happens I start to work out the details. Who are they? What is their story? Some of these insistant, pop-up characters have helped to create my favorite stories.

3. The Title Wave: Lastly, there have been a few times when a story title has jumped into my mind out of nowhere. And once again, my mind starts turning it, playing with it, and envisioning the story behind it. In fact, my newest post-apocalyptic romance, which I am currently writing, began just this way!

If you are a writer, you may understand the strange ways by which my stories are conceived. I would be very interested to hear about your unique techniques (or sorcery), as well!


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