Thursday, September 1, 2016

How Do We Answer?

A question most fiction writers are asked: Where do the ideas of your stories come from?

I am still scratching my head about the answer to that.
All I can offer is that it's something like a seed being planted into fertile ground. (And no one can dispute we writers have fertile imaginations.) It's bound to shoot and wiggle its way up until we see the possibilities of a story. That's when it needs watering.

So what is the watering process for you? Do you get to work and begin laying out your ideas until you see the story emerging fresh, original and tempting?

Or do you take an idea ( or many ideas) you've read before and rewrite the plot with a twist - as agents love to encourage us to add in our book proposals?

Or is it something you've been struggling with in your own life and you place this into you main character's personality? This naturally introduces a spiritual dimension. And may help you discover along the way in figuring out your own life's answers.


The possibility exists that all of the above are true. Now is there something I've missed? I am curious about where we writers differ and where we are similar. As a pantser myself, I wish I could see the end from the beginning. But it seems I need to concentrate on understanding my characters and let them make the right choices ... or wrong as the case may be. Actually wrong choices do make them more human. Then it's interesting to find out how they'll extricate themselves from the consequences of their stupid decisions!

Sigh. All the above is a glimmer, but doesn't prove how we come up with our stories. I'd be glad if you could add some ideas of your own to enlighten me. OR do you have a good answer when posed with the question of where your stories originate?


Rita Stella Galieh is a co-presenter on a Christian radio program broadcast Australia-wide. She was a contributor to several US anthologies published by Adams Media. An attendee at several conferences, she has judged for ACFW, contributes to several other writers’ organizations, blogs weekly, and participates daily on Facebook. After several years study at the Sydney National Art School, she joined the family ceramics business before attending Emmaus Bible College. Each year, besides Australia, she travels with her violinist husband throughout Thailand, with permission from the Buddhist Government, to explain the true meaning of Christmas. 

This past year she has enjoyed presenting the amusing Etiquette of the Victorian Era to ladies and seniors fellowships, dinners, coffee evenings and similar functions. Her website is www.ritastellapress.com

9 comments:

  1. Thanks for asking a pertinent question Rita. I am no fiction writer. But I have a huge number of inspirations in my non fiction writing - much from my own life, my own life lessons and also through what I observe. There is a treasure trove of inspiration around us isn't there? I'm glad God's given us such a rich world around us which tingle our writing buds! Thanks for asking.

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    1. Isn't great that we can learn from our own life lessons? And of course keeping our eyes open to what's happening around us. Yes we do live in a 'rich treasure trove of inspiration'. Nice phrase, Anusha.

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  2. Hi Rita
    Thanks for your post - and some great questions. I sometimes wonder how important it is to have a twist - though clearly we don't want our books to be too predictable.

    As to where my ideas come from - from my childhood daydreaming (made up characters in a made up world), a vivid dream, sparking of a theme - or sometimes life events, things someone has said, a news item, an idea that randomly pops into my head. I don't really go searching ideas, they find me & claimer to be written.

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    1. Wonderful, Jenny. It sounds like for you they come from here, there, and everywhere!

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  3. Thanks Rita :). My ideas come from all over the place. The novel I'm working on atm was sparked by reading my mother-in-law's journal when she hitchhiked across Europr in 1952. Mind you because my mind works in weird ways it's become a time slip romantic thriller that's currently way too complicated ��.

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    1. Ooh that sounds fascinating, Sue. A time slip, hmmm you could have a lot of fun with that!

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  4. Yes, Rita, you're right that most fiction writers are asked this question re our ideas--even my husband puzzles about this! Not sure I'm adding much to what has already been said, but my ideas tend to come from a mixture of my own life experiences and memories (places I've lived, people I've met, things that have impacted me, issues I have grappled with myself etc), from Scripture, from observation of the world around me, from specific research for the particular novel (including people I might interview), from writing exercises at writing workshops/seminars, and--yes, from somewhere in my imagination that I can't explain and that somehow involves the Holy Spirit's inspiration as well!

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    1. Thanks Jo. It seems we writers have to be very aware of the way people tick ... and that includes ourselves.
      And of life in general and the amazing imagination God has given us.

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  5. Hi Rita,
    It is a really good question, and one which I'm sure I could answer differently for each book. Let's see, a dream, a flash from a newspaper article, a decision to sit down and nut out a plot, a feeling that I should do something with my family history. When we consider the hidden nature of creativity, no wonder definite answers can be so elusive.

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