Change Up got off to a great start this weekend, punching its way into the top 400 on the Amazon Kindle Store for a big part of the weekend, and in the top 30 in its Romance/Sports category. I can’t thank everyone enough that bought the book and downloaded it, and I hope you are enjoying the read. It was a fun book for me to write because I have such a keen interest in the subject matter. I do get asked a lot where I get my inspiration for the plots of my stories, and I find it interesting to learn from other authors what piques their interests and makes them write about the things they write.
For me, the plots of my stories come from a lot of different places. One excellent source for me is, of course, my own life. While I certainly do not have the adventures or experiences like any of the characters you might see in Burnt or Change Up, the feelings and emotions that help to drive the plot do come from experiences that I may have had in my own life. We all have experiences from our past where there may have been a lost love that you have thought about or a family experience that stands out to you. I try to use the things I have experienced in the past to help form the basis of a lot of the stories I write.
I also tend to choose plots that I think readers can relate to more closely. For me, it is easier for me to write about subjects and characters that seem more real to me. Granted, we all like to read a great fantasy store like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings or read fabulous romance stories involving the billionaire princes from foreign lands, or the brooding, tortured soul of a strong, magical character that falls in love with a beautiful woman. Escapism is half the fun of reading and lets you get lost in the story, even if it is just for the brief ten minutes you get to read on your lunch break. I love stories like that too, but for me, as a writer and a reader, I find it more enjoyable to read about characters that seem like people I could meet in real life or might know. Of course, Wes in Change Up is a millionaire professional baseball player, something not everyone can relate to, but Kristin is a very relatable character as the local librarian that loves to read and has an every day, ordinary life until Wes comes along. I like to read stories about teachers, firemen, military people, waitresses, bartenders, office workers and the like because these are the people I know and understand the best. I feel like I can make them more relatable to the reader.
I also get my inspiration for stories from outside sources. Music lyrics, movies, and television can act as great inspiration for characters, plot elements, and ideas. There are many times where I will be sitting there watching a movie or TV show and see something, even something small that may seem insignificant to the main story, and see that the idea has fantastic potential for a story of its own. Music affects me the same way, and I do have some book ideas that focus around particular music lyrics that I hope to get to write one day, one of which I think will be fantastic as a story.
Another inspiration for me is one that people may not always want to admit to but happens very often. Eavesdropping on the real world can provide you with all kinds of great story ideas. Whether it is while you are out to dinner at a restaurant, waiting on-line for your morning coffee or at the supermarket, or just picking the kids up from school or sitting in the stands at one of their games, you are going to hear all kinds of conversations. Sometimes these conversations may seem pretty mundane or ordinary, but other times you may listen to just a tidbit of something and realize that this can be a fabulous inspiration for a plot point. Sometimes it means lingering around a little longer than you might typically, like adding extra creamer to your coffee or taking a little longer to put your groceries on the conveyor belt, just so you can hear the end of the captivating story, but it can be well worth it.
All of these are ways for me to get story ideas and plot points, which is why I keep little notebooks everywhere for when an idea strikes me. I keep my primary notebook and journal here at my desk and do a lot of my concept writing in it, but I also have smaller notebooks in the bedroom, living room, kitchen, and even one in the car. Sure, I could put everything down on my phone and do it that way, but to be honest, it’s too hard to whip the phone out, type ideas out quickly before they get away, and then make sense of them later on. Writing things down by hand works well for me, and avoid my fingers fumbling with that tiny keyboard.
So, where do you think great plot ideas can originate? I would love to hear input from readers and writers to see where your inspirations can come from each day, or what romantic plot ideas you think you would like to read at some point. Feel free to leave a comment here and share your insights with me and everyone else. You can always reach out to me too if you have a question by leaving a comment here, on my Facebook or Twitter pages, on my Goodreads author page, or even at my email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you with questions, comments or anything else.
Here’s a look at my beat-up journal on my desk. Take some time today to look at the world around you and see what might make for a good story!