Tag Archives: ideas

IDEAS by S.M. Senden

People often ask where I get my ideas.

I can’t say that there is one well from which I draw when it comes to ideas.  There are many places inspiration can come from; most of them have some relationship with one another but none is exclusive.  Here are a few of my best sources.

Read.  The more you read, the more you learn, and the more you come up with questions that send you onto something else to read.

Research. The more I read, and research, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I want to know.  So many times in my research I find a nugget of truth to build a story upon.  I love to read old newspaper articles.  Not only do they provide ideas, but also a wealth of information about an era or place.

Play the ‘What If’ game.  This was a game someone told me about years ago when I was beginning to write. You begin with an idea.  I will use one that I recently read about. A family has been living in an older house, built somewhere around 1900.  One day one person got curious about the grate in the hall by the entrance.  It looked like it would be a vent to the HVAC, however they did not have central air.  Removing the grate revealed a deep, dark place below the floor.  One of the family members went down there and discovered an abandoned sanctuary with a large cross on the floor.

Now ~ here is where the ‘What If’ game gets fun.  What if there was a hidden treasure down there?  What if there was a catacomb of bones down there, or tunnels that lead to more secret chambers?  What if they entered an alternate reality, universe or era?  What if they discovered a body?

The ‘What If’ game takes your imagination for a long journey that is rarely dull.  It also can provide for a number of good story lines.

Dream.  Sometimes when I am working through a story I will set it into my mind to look for a solution as I sleep and dream.  Often dreams will provide answers.  More often a good nights rest will allow the ideas to come through as if they had been there all along.  Rarely do nightmares provide a story line, but it has happened.

Have No Fear of looking like a geek.  Arm yourself with paper, and a writing implement that works, so you can scribble down the stray thought that had been elusive and comes when you are thinking or doing something other than writing.  Sometimes a conversation will bring that key phrase or idea sought after for a character, situation or event.  Scribble down the idea, but be sure you can read your writing later on!

There are many more I could list, but these are some of the best ones.  Feel free to employ any of these ideas and methods.  Happy Writing!

Author of Clara’s Wish and soon to be released ~ Lethal Boundaries.

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A Picture for Some Words

It has been said that one picture is worth a 1000 words. At the end of this post I will show you a picture for 100,000 words. Actually The Telephone Killer is a mere 85,000 words, but at one time it was more than 120,000 words.

Some years ago, in the dark recess of my numb mind, an idea swirled around and in that swirling found other ideas that attached themselves to it. Then, suddenly it was no longer just one or a few little ideas, but a whole, big idea and it was no longer content to be trapped in my mind. It had to get out. Through vague mental promises and absurd hopes it convinced another part of my mind to let it out – make it into a story.

It was not easy. Sometimes the idea had to almost force me to continue working on the process that would let the complete idea out. The idea knew the whole idea had to come out, not just little bits and pieces of it.

Finally, there it was, but no one seemed interested except friends who will almost always tell you something you did is good, even when it isn’t.

English: Cooking pudding: The black pudding is...

You’ve been there. You’ve been a guest at a meal that was just horrible, but you thank the host telling them their special pudding was delicious when it looked and tasted like warmed-over swamp mud.

But sometimes with a little bit more of this, and a lot less of that, that thing that tasted like swamp mud can be made to be, if not delicious, at least acceptable.

In the realm of story ideas that adding a little and taking away a lot to make something acceptable is called editing. And so you edit, over and over again until you’re pretty sure you have the ingredients right and that is when you invite total strangers to sample your pudding. That is called the query.

Sometimes the person you asked to sample your pudding will say something like, “Yes, it is good, but I don’t think I can cook it on my stove.” Usually the strangers just say, “No! Not for my menu.” They don’t tell you if they think it is good or bad, just “No.”

Half a world away, another mind, one that abides in the bright light of seeking is willing to take chances, comes across the sample I sent him and says, “Send me the whole thing.” That man was Mike Simpson at Second Wind Publishing.

Eventually that leads to signing a contract, some more editing and creating the cover.

The idea of a good for a good cover is that it stand out from the hundreds of others on the bookstore shelf and then make the person want to take a closer look.

I think this cover art does that. So here it is!

Tracy Beltran at Second Wind Publishing did it.

The latest word is that the murder mystery The Telephone Killer will be released December 11, 2012.

Check back with us.

More later – Thank you!

Paul’s book The Telephone Killer published by Second Wind Publishing will be out in December, 2012.

Visit me at Paul’s Books

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Distractions

They’re everywhere. Everywhere you look, everywhere you turn, there are distractions laying in wait for you, ready at a moment’s notice to keep you from doing what you set out to do that day. They come in every shape and form and are so stealthy, so sneaky, that we don’t even realize they’re upon us until it is much too late. And then, of course, we must deal with the distractions before we can get back to the plan for our day.

For me, being a mother and an avid reader and knitter, those distractions can be wide and varied. I could be distracted by receiving a new book in the mail, finding a new pattern book in the store – isn’t there always at least one pattern in there that I have to try RIGHT NOW? – or by any number of things my children might need at any moment. Fortunately, my older daughter is delightfully self-sufficient, but my younger one still needs her mom to help her with things. Or we might need to go to one of her several appointments or meet with a counselor or just run to the store because she needs a certain thing to make her feel better when she’s sick. All of these things, added together, are distractions that keep me from the thing I love to do the most – write.

So the question then remains: How do you deal with the distractions? How do you make sure that they don’t keep you from doing what you want to do or getting back to what you want to do? For me, that is the hard part. Getting back in the groove if I have to leave my writing for a moment. Especially if I’ve been in a groove and that groove is interrupted by a distraction. It is so hard, once I get up from the desk, to sit back down again and get back in the groove.

So tell me, what do you do? Do you have any suggestions for me, any secrets to getting back into that place where I can write once again – until the next distraction, that is. I would love to get your input.

Alas, as I sit here writing this, I am trying hard not to be diverted by yet another distraction – my two cats chasing each other through the house!

Margay Leah Justice, author of Nora’s Soul

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