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I read a blog recently about what readers want to read about when they check out an authors blog. I’ve been to several events in the last few month, where authors are asked the inevitable question: WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS?

This got me thinking, where do I get my ideas?

thinking

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After lengthy consideration, I have come to the conclusion that ideas are just random thoughts for me. Thoughts that, at some point, inject themselves into a setting that seems interesting.

For example, my current WIP is set around the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival. I’d seen quite a few photo’s and I love the retro 50’s style. I saw a photo on Facebook of a girl dressed in a gorgeous 50’s dress and had her hair done up into a Victory Roll. I didn’t know what a Victory Roll was at that point, but it got me looking for more. Again, on Facebook I was scrolling and as I follow Tara Moss, when she posted a link to You Tube and how to fashion a Victory Roll on Diary of a Vintage Girl, I watched the video. Another seed to add to my ideas garden. All seeds are simply put aside at this stage, stashed, ready and waiting for the day with it all starts to come together.

Diary of a Vintage Girl

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Again, and again I visited the blog, Diary of a Vintage Girl and I had a little scenario roll out. Suddenly the season was upon me, the soil was dug over and my watering can was at the ready. Time to plant the seeds.

I use the Notes program on my phone to keep snippets of ideas and scenes until I’m ready to do more. Then as I have a MacBook Air and an iPad Mini they all sync so my notes are flung from device to device and I can access them most of the time.

I seem to have my best thoughts when I have no pen or paper or computer at hand, or even if I do, it’s not safe to use either. But there is a voice recorder on my phone, and I make good use of that. I can’t afford to miss a single thought or idea as I am not one who can keep hold of the slippery little wisps.

To get things started I begin a process that I learned from Roz Morris’ “NAIL YOUR NOVEL”. I scribble ideas onto pieces of paper and stick them in a little timber box I keep for just his purpose. These add up over a few days and up to a few weeks.

starting out

Next I go through the ideas and the ones that are in line with where I want my story to go are transferred to sticky notes that are stuck into a whiteboard (or two) and then I begin to shuffle. I colour code my sticky notes for characters or plots and subplots.

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While the shuffling process continues I do a little research. Or a lot as I tend to lose myself in the world of Google and almost forget to come up for air!

When the shuffling is complete and I see that the story threads and arc’s are close to how I want them, an even distribution of colours, I divide the ideas into scenes or chapters. These are then entered into Scrivener. Amongst all this I am usually playing around with character profiles and finding suitable pictures and pinning these to a board on Pinterest.

This process should take a month or so to complete, but I’m an impatient person so sometimes (last time) I raced ahead before I had the whole plot sorted and go myself lost. Here is the blog post about getting lost and finding my way again if you’re interested.

Then the fun begins. I come out of the starting gates a full speed and seem to maintain the pace for at least two chapters reader. Then I start to slow, and the subsequent three to four chapters seem to be hard work. Usually once I get past the fifth or sixth chapter I am on a roll and I can write quickly. I think that despite of the planning and character development, it isn’t until about the fifth chapter that my main characters have revealed themselves. So by chapter seven and onward I can canter along at a steady pace, just following their leads.

Nostalgia first draft

So there you have it. My writing process, such as it is. But what about you? Do you write? Paint? Draw? Where do you get your ideas?