Where Do Your Ideas Come From?

"Where do your ideas come from?"

This is the most common question that is asked of writers.  It is also one that isn't so easy to answer.  Unless we were inspired be a specific event, more often than not, these ideas just pop out of the ether.  If you're not a writer, you may look at this skeptically, thinking there is a specific formula a writer follows to get new ideas.  In most cases, it isn't so clear-cut.  I always struggle with that question in interviews.  For some books, it is a conscious decision to create something.  For others, the reasons are a bit more mysterious.  The muse has her own ideas, so to speak.

I look at my 112 works in progress and I think, "Where in the world did all of this come from?"  It is just as baffling to me.  For my historical romance stories, was I inspired by a book or a movie?  Was I inspired by love alone?  Or was it deeper, inexplicable?  Did these characters just have something to say?  Did they briefly take over my brain for that moment while I was so immersed in writing the first scene?  Sometimes I think so.  I surprise myself at times.  I don't often do a tally of the type of stories I have in progress.  I will today just for fun.

Historical - 29
Paranormal - 17
Time Travel/Reincarnation - 3
Contemporary - 65
Futuristic/Science Fiction - 2

Some of these are crossovers so the count may not come out the same.  I have several that are historical, but also paranormal.  Some may be contemporary, but paranormal at the same time.  The time travel/reincarnation stories either start in this time period and move to the past, or vice versa.  Then, there are some of the contemporary stories that may be deemed mystery or romantic suspense.  Some of the paranormal stories may also be dystopian.  I still haven't decided.  I have contemporary romances with characters who are mothers, about to be mothers or ones who have never had children at all.  There is a LOT of variety.

My point here is that in the world of ideas, there are no rules.  Maybe not all ideas will fit into a specific category.  As writers, at least for most of us, we don't know exactly where the ideas come from.  Have I ever been inspired by something I saw on television (i.e. some aspect of crime-solving) or even by something I read in the newspaper?  Of course.  More often than not, I am moved by people.  I am fascinated with human behavior and human psychology.  And I truly believe, at least for myself, that all of these life experiences and seeds of creativity get stored in the mind only to come out later in some form or another, in a single "I've got it!" moment.

To give you an idea of the broad scale of my crazy mind, one day I may be working on a story about a romance between an executive and the woman carrying his child.  The next day, I may find myself writing from the perspective of a trained assassin on a mission.  My ideas can take me anywhere.  I only have to open a folder on my computer desktop to see the variety.  I only have to look at all of my filing cabinets.  And with so many ideas, how could I ever run out of things to write about?  The hard part is deciding what book I want to focus on next.  Right now, I am polishing a historical romance.  After that, the sky's the limit.  I don't always have titles in advance either.  Sometimes I just call the file by the name of the character or summarize it with one word (i.e. reincarnation story) and work on the title later.  If I do have a title, I can use it as a working title and decided if I want to change it in the future.  That's the nice thing about ideas.  They're just ideas until they become a tangible thing, until you fill in the blanks with character description, inner conflict and a good plot to drive the story along.

So, readers, what inspires you?  What sort of "ideas" do you like to read about?  And writers, are your ideas as elusive, as mysterious as my own?  I believe we all have different methods of doing things.  Perhaps with some writers, it is easier to focus on one story at a time.  I use self-discipline as well to finish stories.  My list of 17 books should prove that. 

I guess I still find it amusing, however, to see the places my mind takes me.  Here is a list of some of my works in progress, in case you're curious:

Projects (works in progress)

Heiresses in Love series
Upon Your Return (published February 2013, Solstice Publishing) - historical
Upon Your Honor - historical (status:  written, but polishing for submission)
Upon Your Love- historical

The Coven series
Magic Kiss - historical, paranormal
Magic Touch - historical, paranormal
Magic Heart - historical, paranormal
Magic Temptation- historical, paranormal
Magic Honor- historical, paranormal
Magic Salvation- historical, paranormal

Spells & Shifters series
Love's Transformation - contemporary, paranormal
Love and Magic - contemporary, paranormal
A Little Magic - contemporary, paranormal

Stand Alone works


The Seer's Heart - historical
The Scandalous Earl - historical
The Lady in Green - historical
A Girl in the Shadows -historical
The Passionate Slave - historical
Gallant Seduction - historical
Spanish Heart - historical 

Western Romance
Charity - historical
Stacey and Frank (untitled) - historical
Cooper's Wife - historical
A Savage Heart- historical 
Midnight Kiss - historical
Masquerade - historical
The Unexpected Suitor - historical

Turn of the Century
The Tragic Princess - historical

Time Travel
Eternal Dreams - time travel romance (historical, contemporary)
A Second Chance - reincarnation theme (historical, contemporary)
Reincarnated Seer (untitled) - reincarnation theme (historical, contemporary)

Modern Romance 
Miss Lavender's Anthology of Ramblings - contemporary, anthology (status:  written and polished, waiting on cover) 
Certain Death - contemporary, romantic suspense (collaboration) 
Magick & Moonlight - contemporary, paranormal romance (status:  accepted by Solstice, should be published in 2014)
Cajun Heat- contemporary
The Executive's Surprise - contemporary
Savannah Temptation - contemporaryLove's Betrayal - contemporary
In the Darkness - contemporary
The Gentleman- contemporary
A Watcher in the Dark - contemporary
A Game of Love (sequel to Perfect Game) - contemporary
Mail Order Groom - contemporary
Dark Thief - contemporary
Deadly Love - paranormal, contemporary 

Marie's Published Books


  1. Your mind amazes me, Marie. Although I may be bombarded with several different story ideas, one usually dominates the others, and then my brain latches onto it like a tractor beam. After that, I can think of nothing else and concentrate on nothing else but the story at hand--the one that's gripped me. I have many ideas tucked away for future novels; some will come to fruition, and some won't. The important thing is to write the ideas down when inspiration strikes, or you might forget them.

  2. You have an impressive resume, Maria. I like your "got it" moment. That also happens as we write. Sometimes it amazes me where ideas come from. And yes, unless one decides to write about one particular subject, ideas are elusive, they come and go, and we must snatch them up when they are fresh on our minds. It only takes a paragraph or even a sentence for more ideas to form from the one.

  3. I like your blog. Thank you. The notion of ideas coming from somewhere...well! For me boredom has its moments as does some sudden moments that I look back at later...like Wordsworth's Daffodil poem!

  4. Thanks for your comments, everyone!


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