Posts Tagged With: Inspiration

There Are Story Ideas Everywhere…When I’m Paying Attention #MFRWauthor

Have you ever wondered where authors get some of their plot ideas? It isn’t as mysterious as you might think.

Inspiration can come from just about everything. Some of the most common are from events that happen in real life, dreams, songs, phrases from other books, and a thousand other places or things can spark a story idea. For example, it’s no secret Stephenie Meyer got the idea for The Twilight Saga from a dream. Then a single line in Eclipse (book 3 of the saga) inspired me to write A Hunter’s Angel, a paranormal romance about a small town police chief and vampire who is an FBI agent so that he can hunt vampires.

My first contemporary western romance Gambling On A Series was sparked when I watched a butterfly hatch from a cocoon. But my hero is an accumulation of things I’ve learned from the soldiers I’ve worked with over the years. While the idea for the rags-to-riches, ex-prostitute heroine, at least partly, came from a Rachel Gibson novel I’d read a few years ago.

I’ll also tweak things that actually happen to create subplots in my books. On such inspiration from real life (as real as reality TV can get anyway) shows up in Heartstrings, but the main idea came from a song. At least somewhat from a song. Let me explain. About six years ago I wrote a Star Wars fan fiction novel using the country song “God Blessed the Broke Road” by Rascal Flatts as my inspiration. The story was about a female who had been in love with two men, who were friends, at different times in her life and who ended up married to one of them, and then to the other after her first husband was killed. Her second husband then raised her daughter to her first husband as his own.

Fast forward two and a half years later. After I wrote the first book of The Hunter’s Dagger Series, A Hunter’s Angel, I got the idea to write a story about a country singer coming home for his father’s funeral to find out he had a daughter. The original story plot, then titled “The Long Road Home” (a sort of play on the song “God Blessed the Broken Road”) was a little different then the story that eventually became Heartstrings. Despite the fifteen or so revisions and rewrites I’ve done to “The Long Road Home” to create Heartstrings, the main plot is still loosely inspired by my old fan fiction and the country song “God Blessed the Broken Road.”

For Heartsong, I got the idea of a country singer married to his much older manager and the marriage failing in part from the real-life

tabloid candy story of Randy Travis and his first wife and manager. In Heartsong, the heroine’s rise to fame at a young age, and eventual fall due to drugs was inspired by several real-life young actresses and singers.

In the second Cowboy Up anthology (which is currently out of print), my story A Cowboy’s Heaven, was inspired by a news article I had read a few years ago. The story was about a man and woman who never believed they’d find love again. Both had been widowed soon after getting married to the person they’d believed to by their soul mate. But thanks to a friend, they met. A friendship grew out of their mutual loss, then after a few years of dating, they realized they had fallen in love and were married. It really was a true-life romance and I knew I had to write a book to pay homage to this beautiful story.

But really, inspiration for me can come from anywhere or anything. If you are a writer, where do you find inspiration?

Check out other authors in the Challenge here:

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Categories: Insights | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

My Favorite Movies

Cross-posted from Cera duBois

On Sunday night, the prestigious Academy Awards aka Oscars were held in Hollywood. I didn’t watch them. Not really interested, truth be told. In fact, I was a little peeved because Once Upon a Time wasn’t on. But all this talk of Best Picture got me thinking about my top five favorite movies. Well, there was one tie, so actually there are six listed.

Now, I must caveat this by saying, I’m not much of a movie watcher. I seldom go to the movies, simply because I can’t afford to. There are tons of classic and current movies I’ve never seen. Don’t really want to because, just like a book, it has to hook me. If it doesn’t, I won’t watch it. I don’t care how many Oscars it won.

1- The Star Wars Saga. I’m a huge fan, but a relative new one. I first watched the original trilogy back in 1996 when my hubby bought the box set of VHS tapes. It was instant LOVE! My favorite movie of the six (yes, I even loved the Prequel) is Episode 4, which really was the first SW movie. There is something so intriguing about a simple farm boy from a backward, sand-covered outer planet being the one to combat the evilest thing around and saving an entire galaxy. I loved Luke, Leia, Han, Obiwan, Anakin, and Padme and their stories so much that I started reading all the books written in the SW universe. Then I started writing my own stories (fan fiction) with these characters and inventing my own in 2005. I got back into writing again by writing Star Wars fan fiction.

2- Gone With the Wind. This is one classic I’ll watch over and over. I love the chemistry between Vivian Lee and Clark Gable and the fantastic way they brought life to Scarlet and Rhett. Enough said!

3- Pearl Harbor. As a former history teacher the screwing of the actual history bugs the heck out of me, but I loved the bittersweet love triangle between Rafe, Evelyn and Danny. In fact, it inspired two of my stories…A SW fan fiction I wrote using book characters and my first contemporary Western, The Long Road Home (in its original version). The story is about Rafe and Danny who are Army pilots stationed at Pearl Harbor before the bombing. They’ve been best friends since childhood. Evelyn is a nurse there. She and Rafe fall in love, but he is called away when an opportunity is given to fly with the British Air Force. After his plane goes down and he believed dead in Europe, Danny and Evelyn share their grief with each other. Over time, they fall in love. Then right before the bombing, Rafe shows up again and wants to pick up where he left off with Evelyn…but she’s engaged to Danny. Well, I’m just a sucker for this kind of drama!

4- Firelight. This film is one I just recently watched, although it was made in 1997. It’s set in 1837 England and is about an anonymous English landowner who contacts a young Swiss woman for an unbelievable request—he wants her to bare his child because his wife can’t. Then several years later, Elizabeth shows up at the landowner’s manor as the governess of his (their) daughter. His wife is in a catatonic state, but Charles is still very much married to her. But the love and lust he feels for Elizabeth that started when they met in secret to conceive their daughter and what she feels for him can’t be denied. It’s a classic story of forbidden love with a bittersweet ending.

5- Far and Away. This movie about finding the American dream is set in 1890’s. It’s about the ambition of two very different Irish immigrants—Shannon Christy (rich, spoiled and aristocratic) and Joseph Donnelly (poor, hot-headed and a peasant on her father’s land) and how they form a bond to not only get to America, but find their dream come true on the plains of Oklahoma in the great Land Run. What I love about this movie is the great tenacity of these two very different people. Shannon leaves her life of luxury in Ireland with nothing. She’s forced to live in squalor and work for a living in a meat packing plant and then a Can-Can girl in Boston, while Joseph (pretending to be her brother) finds fame and fortune as an Irish boxer for the local Irish mob boss. But they never lose focus on what they really want—land of their own. And they fall in love along the way.

6- Dances With Wolves (honorable mention): This movie is basically tied with Far and Away. This is the only one of these movies that I actually saw in the theater (I only saw Star Wars: Episode 6 on the big screen). It was a date night while in college with my hubby, and I dragged him to it. He hated the movie…Still does. He complains every time I drag out my old VHS tape to watch it.

Well, there you have it. What are some of your favorite movies? And have any of them inspired your writing?

Categories: Writing Wednesdays | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

NaNo

NaNo and NaNoWriMO are two acronyms most writers know and know well. The letters stand for National Novel Writing Month… or as a lot of writers affectionately call it “I have to be crazy month!” The goal of NaNo is to write a novel during the busy month of November.

I’ve been crazy—I mean insightful—enough to do NaNo twice. The first time, I wrote about the first 52,000 words on a novel I was writing just for fun, a Star Wars fan fiction story that a year later topped the scale at a very verbose 225,000 words.  (It really was three books in one.) The second time was  last year. I wrote 65,000 words of the second book of my Cowboy’s of Colton series. That book finished a few weeks later at 95,000 words.

This year I’m not doing NaNo, but I love the kick in the pants it gives me.  In order to have the required 50,000 words by the end of November, a writer must not only write every day, but also produce at least 1,500 words every day.  Not difficult if the ideas flow easily and life doesn’t dump on you at the same time.

The other reason I’m not participating this year is that the book you sign up to write must be something new.  I’m not ready to abandon my current work in progress to start something new.  I need to get this book done.  My goal is to have it finished by the end of the month. I have roughly 40,000 words yet to write.  Should be a piece of cake, but for some reason I’m struggling.  Life has dumped on me big time this past two months.  I also have obligations regarding the editing of my short vampire romance that I
recently sold to The Wild Rose Press.

However, I need that energy, that sense of competition to get me inspired to get this darned book done!

So, I’m doing my own version of NaNo… My goal—either 50,000 words or my book’s completion by the end of the month.

My prize?  Well, a girl can always use a day of shopping.

I’ll post my word count totals here on my blog every other day, so you all can help cheer me on.

Well, I guess I better get writing.

Categories: Writing | Tags: , | 7 Comments

Rejection

If you’re a writer, you probably cringe at the mere mention of the word rejection. If there is one word we all hate, that’s it. Today, I’m going to talk about how I cope with those dreaded emails and letters. You know the ones: “Sorry, but your story doesn’t fit our needs.”

For me, these words often translate into something has to be wrong. I know that isn’t always the case,
but my way of coping is to take a look at the story and try to figure out what I can make better, what can I improve on. I’ve done this twice now in the past few months.  And each time, I’ve liked what I ended up with. The stories are better, my writing crisper, the characters richer. I’m still learning, and I swear, every day I learn something new regarding my craft. I usually tackle looking at the story the same day I receive the rejection. When I was new at this game, I’d sulk for days after getting rejections, and then I’d want to give up on the story. In fact, I did give up on my first book. It languished on my hard drive for two years, until a friend (non-writer) who read the story, encouraged me to send it out again. He (yes, it was a guy who read the romance) was honest and said the book needed a major edit, but the story was a great one and he loved my characters. I rewrote the story, and I’m glad that I did. When the rewrite was rejected, I found a new determination. Damn it, this story is getting published if it kills me!

And that, I’ve concluded, is the best way for me to deal with rejection. Not to see it as rejection, but as
an opportunity to make the book even better. (Well, that’s what I tell myself to believe :-)) Sure, that word still hurts. It still sucks that someone didn’t like my baby, but if I don’t keep trying, then I’ve given up on my baby and that isn’t an option. At least, not for me at this point in my career. Maybe if I was doing this as long as some of my friends, I might see things differently, but I never liked to sulk. I’m too stubborn and upbeat for it.

How do you deal with those dreaded letters?

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Never Give Up

(cross-posted at Tabby’s Nocturnal Nights)

Last week a movie opened up in theaters everywhere that wouldn’t have if it hadn’t been for one author’s tenacity. The book, THE HELP, spent months at the top of bestselling lists since its publication in 2009. It has inspired and entertained people everywhere. All this would have remained just a dream for Kathryn Stockett if she’d stopped trying. If she’d given up.

I will admit I have not read the book or seen the movie. I’d like to read the book now that I’ve learned Ms. Stockett’s story. But when I clicked on this article (http://www.more.com/kathryn-stockett-help-best-seller) on Yahoo last week, I had no interest in it except in the shocking headline: Kathryn Stockett’s ‘The Help’ Turned Down 60 Times Before Becoming a Best Seller.

I was instantly awed and inspired for obvious reasons. Here’s a story about someone achieving the same dream I have. It showed me that hitting the lottery that we writers all play CAN and DOES
happen. But I was also saddened. What if she would have given up? What if she didn’t have the determination, bordering on obsession, to get her story published? The world would have missed out on an really good book. And Ms. Stockett would have been one more disillusioned writer.

I wonder how many times writers may have given up too early. Either on a story or on our dreams in general. Ms. Stockett’s story isn’t the only one out there like this. Many writers had to query dozens of
times to hit that one agent/editor willing to take a chance on them or saw the gold that none of the others did hiding within the pages. How many HARRY POTTERs or TWILIGHTs or THE HELPs are languishing out there on a hard drive or in a drawer because the writer gave up at rejection number 10 when query number 11 would have sent them to the stratosphere? Or gave up at rejection 100 when
101 would have been the winning number?

Rejection may not be easy. But that too takes some crazy, stubborn obsession to shrug off.  And just remember if you don’t query and keep querying, if you don’t keep trying—no matter what you want to accomplish—you never will.

NEVER GIVE UP!

Happy writing and reading~

Categories: Insights | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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