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There will no longer be posts on this site after January 31, 2012
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You Gotta Read Reviews Admin Team
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Blog Tour! Welcome Author Kelly Harmon and BLOOD SOUP!
April 9, 2010
I’ve heard some people say that they would like to write a book, but they don’t have a good idea for one. Or, that they don’t know where to get any ideas...as if there were a store you could visit.
Science fiction author and editor Harlan Ellison has stated that anytime a fan or interviewer asks him the question, "Where do you get your ideas?" he replies "Schenectady." He’s making a joke, of course, and perhaps blowing off the questioner. But I like to think he’s also encouraging that person to think, “Schnenectady? What’s in Schenectady that we haven’t got here?”
And the answer is: nothing.
In his book, The Writer’s Idea Workshop, Jack Heffron says, “The ideas you seek, the ones that you’ll use to write beautiful work, are already inside you.”
Ideas can be triggered from anything: a conversation overheard at the local coffee shop, the lyrics to a song heard on the radio, something witnessed during rush-hour traffic. Some people leaf through magazines for inspiration. If you’re stumped for an idea, try your local newspaper.
Today, my paper carried a story about a teen-aged girl, recently diagnosed with diabetes, who is making and selling ribbon hair barrettes to raise money for diabetes research. It’s a lovely story, but not one of great novel-making. So turn it on its ear:
∙ Write a story about a teen lying about being sick in order to gain the sympathy of everyone around her. The money she makes selling trinkets doesn’t actually get donated to research: she buys drugs with it.
∙ Maybe the girl’s mother is slowly poisoning her. The girl is dying, but Mom’s getting all the sympathy. The barrette money is feeding mom’s make-over: hair, nails, cosmetics, clothes. She’s losing a daughter, but she’ll look fabulous at the funeral. (Or worse: the barrette sales are buying the poison Mom is using!)
∙ This could even be an urban fantasy: the girl isn’t ill, she’s demon-bound. Unless she can break the curse, she’s as good as dead anyway. She needs the money to buy the services of a witch who can rid her of the demon. Can she make enough?
If you don’t like the news, try Heffron’s idea and seek ideas within you. Is there a particular memory that leaps out? Maybe you were once involved in something that causes really strong feelings, or have a memory of someone or someplace that you’ve never forgotten.
I once knew a guy in school who carried around a small bag of oregano. I can’t remember his name, but I remember that smell and how he used to try to fool people into thinking he was “cool” because he smoked pot. Where’s that guy now?
∙ Perhaps in college he graduated from oregano to the real thing, but the stuff he got was laced with something else. He became violent and beat someone near to death. He was tried as a juvenile, did some time in reform school. Became a cop. But now that he’s on the up and up, the person he once thrashed is trying to take him down.
∙ Maybe he graduated to pot and loved it. He can’t keep a job, loses his family and winds up homeless. On his way home from panhandling one night he witnesses a crime (committed by a demon, witch or vampire if you want to take the fantasy route) and has to convince the authorities of what he saw. Do they believe him?
The briefest of headlines can become the idea for a novel:
∙ The President Signs a Bill into Law (What does that do to your protagonist?)
∙ Hundreds gather for Fallen Police Office (What if no one gathered?)
ABOUT BLOOD SOUP
A tale of murder, betrayal and comeuppance.
King Theodicar of Borgund needed an heir. When his wife, Queen Piacenza, became pregnant, he’d hoped for a boy. His wife, along with her nurse, Salvagia, knew it wouldn’t be so: with each cast of the runes, Salvagia’s trusted divination tools yielded the same message: “A girl child must rule or the kingdom will fall to ruin.” The women were convinced that the child would be a girl.
When the queen finally gives birth, the nurse and the king are equally surprised. The king is faced with a terrible choice, and his decision will determine the fate of his kingdom. Will he choose wisely, or will he doom Borgund to ruin?