Monday, May 7, 2007

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

Posted by Kate Carlisle

Welcome to our beautiful new blog! I’m so excited to be here – and I almost missed it.

I just returned home from a long, frustrating cross-country trip complete with layovers and flight cancellations and internet service breakdowns (grrrr!). Then I woke up this morning with a miserable nasty stuffy head cold and wanted to write a letter to the airlines to complain about their bad attitudes and bad air circulation, but instead, I went back to bed and almost slept the day away before realizing—holy Stephen King! It’s my day to blog!

And when I blog, I've usually got a really important subject all picked out to dazzle you with, but today, all I can think about is…decongestants.

Have you tried to buy one lately? I have. Let me tell you, it's like I got caught sneaking through the back door of the White House or something.

First, the clerk entered my name and address and driver’s license number in the computer. But that wasn’t good enough. She also wrote the same information down in a big book—in duplicate, mind you. She made me sign it, then she disappeared for a few minutes.

What’s up with that? Was she flipping through the latest FBI Most Wanted photos in the back room? It was nerve-wracking and vaguely demoralizing.

So finally the clerk came back and allowed me to pay for the darn stuff. It cost me $5.62, including tax. It probably cost the company $40.00 for the clerk to go through all that nonsense. I popped a pill before I left the store and felt like an addict. Sheesh.

I know what you’re thinking: Kate, go take a nap. This sad story of yours has nothing to do with writing.

But you’re wrong, my friends. As I was going through the process, I kept thinking, if I were a different person, this frustrating little experience might push me right over the edge. I might think, what are you people doing to me? This is the last straw! I can’t take it any more! I’m going to kill someone!!

And voila! A new plotline is born!

Oh, before I left the store, I also bought a box of Kleenex and some cough drops.

So where do you get your ideas?


Maureen Child said...

My sympathies, Kate. I just gave a pint of blood to buy some Sudafed myself!!!

Ideas?? ARe there ideas out there?? With my head so plugged, none can get in!

Caren Crane said...

Hi, Maureen. Thanks for stopping by! And I'm sharing your allergy-suffering pain.

Ack! The devil Sudafed. I stopped buying it because I didn't want to register with Big Brother and bought the fake stuff instead. It doesn't work! I'm tempted to order drugs illegally from Canada, like all those spam e-mails keep telling me to.

As for ideas, I think suffering of all sorts must be food for the creative soul. A badly broken heart inspired a book of mine and being totally furious with my husband inspired another. A friend's heartbreak inspired my WIP. I suppose suffering must be good for something besides building character, eh?

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, man, I'm about to do some serious long-haul travel so I can catch up with my bandita buddies. And of course, it's the first time I've had to get the clear plastic bag for my lipstick and my lip salve and all the other dangerous stuff I'm carrying. It's a new world out there, girls!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I don't even think about the Sudafed thing anymore. We in the Pac NW are innundated with info about meth (the problem behind all that tracking) so it just seems normal to me. I guess that's an issue in and of itself...

I get bombared by ideas on a daily basis--I'm going for a run and see a couple blast past me and I wonder why they're so competitive, and if they're competitive with each other, and suddenly I'm writing a story about two professional athletes who can't stop competing...or I'm chatting with my best friend who goes mountaineering and I wonder what it would be like if a prickly, independent mountaineer gal was in a serious accident and had to be cared for by her adorable favorite time for working out new plot ideas (besides while I'm running) is while I get a massage. It's enforced "let your mind wander" time. And you're getting rubbed, oiled, stretched, and pampered at the same time. What could be better?


Gina Black said...

fresh oranges (or OJ)

You don't have to sign for them. Yet.

Joan said...

Kate and Maureen.

Hope you're feeling better soon. I had it a couple of weeks ago. No fun at all.

As to where I get my ideas? Well, for my Roman historicals...I'm not sure. They've just ALWAYS been there.

As to a paranormal I have in my head it came from observing a black haired, blue eyed Irish stone mason working on a fountain in Sneem, Co. Kerry. Sigh....darn tour bus making me leave!

Suzanne Welsh said...

A lot of my ideas happen with "What if's". What if...

A man needs medical help and can't go to the ER? He kidnaps a nurse.

A woman's witness protection cover is blown by a hitman? She forces a man at gunpoint to help her escape.

A local sheriff sees some woman standing on a car dumpster diving in the bank's dumpster and she falls on top of him covering him with trash? He arrests her.

I like what if's. That's about as much pre-plotting as I do.

And I hope the cold gets better soon, Kate. Lots of fluids and vitamin C.

Kate Carlisle said...

LOL Gina! That's too easy!

I love everyone's stories about where their ideas come from. I'm especially intrigued by your Irish stone mason, Joan. Exactly where in Sneem did you say the tour bus stopped? ;-)

Anna, good luck traveling with all the new rules and regs on liquids. I just use a small zip-lock baggie for the few liquids I still carry--eyedrops, hand lotion, lip gloss--and I stick that inside my regular cosmetics bag. And believe it or not, there are still people out there who haven't heard the rules yet. I saw one lady recently who was holding up the security line, begging the cops to please let her keep her giant bottle of mouthwash. LOL. Maybe next time, she'll just carry mints!

Anna Sugden said...

Hugs to all those suffering and in need of contraband decongestant ... I've got it on my list to bring back from the UK on my next trip home!

Ideas? They pop up at me in all sorts of shapes and sizes. From articles or seeing people or hearing conversations.

My latest came from watching them retire the jersey number for one of my favourite hockey players. The contrast between the shy, quiet, family man and the one who is notorious for laying out people on the ice intrigued me *grin*

Christine Wells said...

Feel better soon, Kate! Loved your post. It's certainly a great antidote to suffering to think what a great book it would make!

I realized last night that one place I get my ideas is from secondary characters. Every time I need to introduce someone new in a book, be it a best friend or whatever, I start thinking, now what's her background? What's she doing here? I like everyone in my stories to have their own agendas. They're not just there as cardboard characters to serve the main plot. And then I wonder what kind of man this woman would fall in love with. I weave little fantasies about her, and then I have to wrench my mind back to the book I'm working on now:) But I file those ideas away and maybe I'll use them further down the track.

Keira Soleore said...

Sorry to hear you're unwell, Kate and Caren.

The govt always overreacts in wide sweeping gestures and usually well after the horses have bolted. Bleh!

V.Anna: I just visited your Website, and I loved your English village and bio!

Joan said...

The bus stopped at the obligatory tourist "please shop at our shops" place just off the tiny square.

He was using a modern stone saw but I immediately envisioned him using hand tools Went to my happy place ;-)

Shortly thereafter, we went to a ancient town who had a statue of a "puck" goat in its square. (Evidently, when Cromwell was visiting, the town was alerted by a stampeding herd of goats and they have a festival every year).

Maybe the stone mason could SCULPT a puck goat???

I better get back to writing.

Trish Milburn said...

Ideas literally come from everywhere -- something I see, some combination of words I hear, a movie or TV show I watch.

As for allergies, I'm so glad I don't have to go through the third degree to get my meds since I'm on prescription Allegra and Singulair. Isn't it crazy that it's easier to get prescription meds than what is technically over-the-counter?

Tawny said...

The idea fairy? I keep leaving her quarters by the computer, figuring she'll leave ideas for me. ha.

Seriously, it might as well be, since I really don't know exactly where or how I get the ideas.

And grrrr on the registering for cold-meds. OMG what a pain! All of us in my house get nasty sinus headaches that only Advil cold & sinus clear up, but because of this registration, limited sales thing, we never have it on hand anymore.

Caren Crane said...

Gina, I love your little Totoro! No one I know has seen "My Neighbor Totoro" and they think all my quirky Japanese cartoons are silly. Hmph! Then again, my son speaks Japanese and I have two nieces in Japanese immersion school, so maybe I have more exposure than most. And no, none of us are Japanese!

Jo Carlisle said...

Wow, ladies your blog is beautiful! I promised my good Bandita friend Suz Welsh (waving madly!) that I would stop by and check it out, and I'm glad I did. I'm a blog virgin, you see, so this is my first post!

Ideas, for my genre, erotic romance? Mmm, what a delicious loaded question. I ask myself this simple question: If I could indulge in any erotic fantasy I wanted, no holds barred, what would it be? The ones that might shake people up the most become proposals for my agent!

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Check out my yummy cover (gotta love a vulnerable naked man!)and read an excerpt from Raina's Fantasy, coming from Ellora's Cave in August 2007, at! Is it bad form to say that??

Again, lovely blog! I enjoy reading everyone's posts.


Beth said...

I get my ideas from people watching, tv shows, movies, song lyrics, newspaper or magazine articles...they're everywhere! Unfortunately, I tend to get too many ideas which makes it hard to concentrate on my wip *g*

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hello Jo! Glad you found us and very glad you like our site. (I flashed your cover on our loop a while back and it stopped traffic.) You aren't the first blog virgin we've had on here.

Anna Sugden said...

Thanks so much Keira! Thrilled you like it.

LOL at Tawny leaving quarters for the ideas fairy.

Caren - you've just mentioned my latest little craze - love Miyazaki! Howl's Moving Castle, Spirited Away - fabulous!

Diana Celesky said...

Ideas? They're everywhere - in dreams, overheard conversations, news headlines, coming out of the mouths of the larger-than-life characters you know personally - everywhere. Like Inara, they hit me from different directions on a daily basis. For some reason, they especially like to come at me when I'm driving my car. Need to find that portable tape recorder . . . .