Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Where does inspiration come from?

Sorry I've been offline for a few days...but I promise I have a good reason for it.  My brain got completely hijacked by a story idea.  A story idea that needed out, now.  And so, for five straight days, I wrote and wrote.  In the Service of the King, a dark paranormal erotic romance intended for Harlequin's Nocturne Bites line, was the very, very exciting result.

That experience has me thinking about sources of inspiration again.  In the Service of the King is almost entirely the result of my thinking of a title for which I had absolutely no story.  For weeks I've been bouncing around the title, Bound and Determined.  Man, that title is hot.  But, lol, I've never had a story to go along with it!  Nothing that came of its own accord.  But then, all of a sudden, I had an ancient Celtic vampire king marching around in my head.  And, huh, he was the the one doing the binding.  Hmm, yes, definite potential there.  But why was he binding someone?  And a world came into being--one with a tenuous alliance between a small group of humans and seven ancient vampire kings.

Something similar happened with Hearts in the Dark.  The story was entirely inspired by wondering, one afternoon, what would happen between a guy and a girl if they got trapped in an elevator for hours on end?  And, oh, it's an old elevator, and the lights go out too.  Yeah, the possibilities were too good to pass up.

Often, though, inspiration is a whole lot less cerebral.  Music does it for me sometimes.  John McLaughlin's song, "Proud Father," has created an entire plot in my head, one that stems in part from my own childhood experiences without a father.  And now I have what I think is going to be a very compelling outlet for those feelings.

My 6-year-old daughter put a kernel of a story in my head one night when she imagined mermaids living in the Bay waters she can see from her bedroom window.  The YA story that blossomed from her wonderings is percolating in my head, and I'm not the slightest bit shy about asking her questions.  What would those people be like?  What would their world be like?  Her answers are sometimes fascinating!

Sometimes inspiration comes from unexpected candid moments.  I have no idea what to do with this one, yet, but the image remains so vivid in my mind:  on Easter, I went to the cemetery to visit my mom and grandmother.  In the distance, I noticed a twenty-something man kneeling in front of a grave.  He stayed there the entire time I visited my family's graves, never moving, at least not as far as I could see.  He was very attractive and wearing a rather sexy leather jacket.  And, parked on the driveway near where he knelt, was a completely hot bright yellow motorcycle.  Something about the hunch of his shoulders made me ache for him, and contrasted with his seeming bad-boy attractiveness, I have been hooked by that image ever since.  I can't wait for the story to gel around it.

So, where does inspiration come from for you?

Thanks for reading,


Alexis Morgan said...

Back when I was writing western romances, I read a book on gambling in the Old West. There was a saloon owner who thought coins were bad luck. Every morning he'd throw them out to bunch of kids waiting to profit from his habit. I got to wondering about what would happen to a kid who grew up scambling in the dust to support himself.

For one of my paranormals, I was reading a book on women warriors in the ancient world. The archeologists were talking about everything they'd learned from digging up one of the graves based on the items that had been buried with her. I got to wondering (notice a theme here?) about how the man would feel who had given her that jewelry and buried her with such care. From there, I ended up with a 1000 yr old Viking hero in my first Talion book, Dark Warrior Unleashed.

Jenna Howard said...

My first book came to be when my friend pointed out the Liquid Silver Books Zodiac contest. I snorted and said I refuse to write a book around astrology or a horoscope. Then about 6 weeks before the deadline, I was getting ready to fall asleep when this voice came to me.

My name is Scorpio. I'm an assassin. (pause) I'm your heroine.

It went from there.

Laura Kaye said...

Ooh, Jenna--the voice gave me chills! Love that! I do a lot of the wondering what if, too, Alexis. Great sources of inspiration!

I haven't really had much inspiration from dreams yet--how helpful is other's sleeping subconscious???

Thanks for stopping by!

Nina Pierce said...

I wish I could say my stories come from the voices (which I inadvertently shut off in college when I was busy doing research papers). Mostly I get my stories from a character first. Usually the hero. From there we find his faults and the perfect heroine to not only bring him out, but usually to help save the day.

Laura Kaye said...

Building out from a character is a great way to build a character-driven story--I like that, a lot, Nina!

Keena Kincaid said...

My muse doesn't seem to be as active as yours. He tends to wait until I'm almost asleep or in the middle of something else (like moving furniture for a thorough spring cleaning) and then he starts firing off great ideas.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

The inspiration for Silver Serenade came when I wondered what would happen if two people had the same target but for different reasons. Thus was born my assassin heroine, Silver Malloy, whose assignment is to kill the terrorist, Tyrone Bluth. Opposing her is Jace Vernon, a convicted murderer who needs Bluth alive to prove his innocence. This became the basis for the story which starts out with Silver aiming her rifle at Bluth. Jace intercedes and...well, you have to read the rest. :) But in this instance, the characters inspired the story.

Laura Kaye said...

These are great stories! And, hmm, I'm compiling a TO READ list as y'all share here! Like with Nina and Nancy, Forever Freed started out with a character too--what if a vampire had lost a family in his human life, a family that had been everything to him, that had been his defining purpose in life, and found a second chance for family as a vampire? Thus Lucien Demarco was born...