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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ideas, Where do they come from

I am often asked where I get my ideas. Quite often I don’t exactly know what spawned an idea. It might be a news item or a book I read, or even a photograph, modern or historical.  It is sometimes just my take on an old favourite.: Sleeping Beauty, Marriage of Convenience, Rags to Riches. I still have secret baby somewhere in the back of my mind. Often, it is a number of these things melding together. 

Most often what I get is an opening scene and a character that pops into my head out of nowhere. I might not even be looking for an idea at the time. Indeed, it might be a distraction from what I am working on. In this case, I simply write a few notes, store them in an ideas file and hope that will be enough to  remember it later, as well as stop it from cluttering things up.

Where does that alley lead?  Once I get the opening scene fixed in my head, I can start writing.  Often, I am not sure what the theme of the story is, or where the characters are going to lead me, but I start following along to see where it will go.

For example, in The Gamekeeper’s Lady, my first view of Robert was him in bed (very busy in the draft version) with his mistress.  I read the scene to my husband one day when we were driving home after spending some time with my daughter at University.  He got so involved in the story--- he got lost and I had to stop reading until we found the road again.  The scene after that was of Frederica, galloping wildly in the country refusing to believe she was to marry her cousin.  How this couple were ever to get together, I had no idea.

Robert’s twin brother, Charlie, in More Than  a Mistress found his story in a very different manner. He appears briefly in Robert’s book, but he was very, well to put it mildly, dutiful. The good twin, for sure.  I couldn’t imagine what sort of woman would shake him out of his complacency, apart from the fact he had let his brother down badly.  Merry Draycott, a commoner, broke down on the road in front of him. An independent business woman, she was also a heroine fit for a duke.

I have lots more examples and no doubt will be sharing them as we go along, but now it is your turn. Do you have a particular favorite type of story? I would be interested to know, for when I get my next idea.

Ann Lethbridge
Regency Ramble Blog


  1. Fun post, Ann! Interesting to read how you "find" your ideas, or rather how they find you. :)) I enjoyed your story about how your hubby enjoyed your story so much, he (and you) got lost!!

  2. Thanks Susanne. We still laugh about that one.

  3. Getting lost-too funny! Now that's a man who really takes a deep chomp into a great read-lol! My story's idea came to me while I was viewing urine sedimentation under a microscope at work. I don't think too many authors can claim that. However, being the huge science nerd I am, I happily do!

  4. Oh, interesting. I think there are some activities where our minds can roam freely, driving is one for me, very dangerous, I expect this is one for you. lol

  5. Story ideas pop into my head...and I keep them on a list of my "to do books". Long list, little time!
    My Gone to the Dogs book started with a simple, true event. My dog ate my daughter's underwear. Not funny at the time, but after he was okay, it seemed like a funny way to start a book...and the first sentence is: "Your dog ate your underwear."
    Real life can give you so many story options.

  6. Most of my ideas come from dreams.


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