Wednesday, March 11, 2015

How You Can Find Inspiration for New Book Ideas

I've always been an idea person. Even as a young editor I loved going to Barnes & Noble to pour over books and magazines and come up with my own ideas. I developed a cigar book, a beer book and a couple of different romance and mystery series ideas.

As an agent I continue to do the same. I'm always at the ready for an author who is having trouble thinking about what might be next or wants to take a germ of an idea and make it bigger. I've got a list of ideas and, in fact, just yesterday Jessica and I added three new romance ideas to that list. The trick is always finding the right author. The one with the perfect voice to match our vision.

Naturally, I'm often asked where I get my ideas and my answer is everywhere. I get them from magazine articles I read, blog posts, something I see on the train or even reviews of other books. In fact, sometimes the best ideas come from other books. No, I don't rip off another idea, but something really great can get me thinking about other things. For example, reading Wonder by RJ Palacio got me thinking about all sorts of other ideas. Ideas that I don't think I'm ready to share with the world until my author has run with them.

I'm not sure if it's just easy for me because I'm naturally an idea person, but if you feel stuck for what to do next sitting in front of your computer staring at the screen is not going to give you the idea. Get out there and explore. Read other books, read blogs, read nonfiction magazine articles. Go to a movie and, more importantly, read another genre or sub-genre. Some of the world's best ideas come from copying something else and making it your own. For example, could Gone Girl become a historical romance?



Kate Douglas said...

Reading is where I get a lot of my inspiration for story ideas, and yet the idea I get usually has nothing to do with the book itself. For instance, the turn of a phrase or a setting will suddenly plant a character in my mind, and of course then I need to figure out why and what's up with said character. I've also learned that reading other romances helps me focus on what's wrong with my own WIPs. When I read a story where the author totally nails the conflict or the sexual tension, it forces me to see what's lacking in my own work. I can't imagine writing without doing a lot of reading. (Of course, this helps me justify my huge book buying expenses, and the hours spent with my nose in a book...)

Rebecca Talley said...

I just went to a Tim McGraw concert last night and one of his songs gave me an idea for a romance.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Having to turn out a column on deadline has never been a problem until now. This post is a Godsend because I feel drained dry; any ideas for me out there?
I write about personal situations and how those situations relate to the general consensus of everyday life.
Latest were, one on honesty and one on spring peepers.
Easter is out, nothing left after three years in row writing about it...
Actually I just had an idea, (gotta jump on it)will get back to you but please, any ideas let me know.