Jilly: Which Story Would You Tell?

“Where do you get your ideas?” is supposedly the question most asked of successful authors.

I collect and hoard story starters from here, there and everywhere (Alexis grew from the juxtaposition of two fascinating anecdotes shared by my hairdresser), but my all-time favorite source is the BBC website.

Most weeks I stumble across something weird or wonderful that makes my brain fizz. I bookmark them in a folder called ‘story stuff’ and forget about them until I’m looking for ideas or inspiration or just something a little different to get the wheels turning.

I had one of those days today, so I took a stroll through my story stuff file. There are more than a hundred nuggets in there, but here are a trio of good ones.

A sci-fi classic: Continue reading

Michille: Blog Steal – 9 Story Openings to Avoid

keepeducating600And for this week’s blog post steal, I’m borrowing from Kristin Nelson and Angie Hodapp. They started a series in June of 2016 about 9 Story Openings to Avoid. The first one is the traditional sittin’ and thinkin’. As opposed to the opening of Julia Quinn’s Brighter Than the Sun which starts with this: “Eleanor Lyndon was minding her own business when Charles Wycombe, Earl of Billington, fell – quite literally – into her life.” Continue reading

Jilly: Bolt from the Blue

Bolt from the BlueHave you ever had something fire your imagination, completely out of the blue?

Yesterday Michaeline was celebrating a good writing week, thanks (maybe) to her psychological priming experiment. My writing could have gone better, but my story week was a revelation. I went for my regular monthly haircut and as my stylist is not only a genius scissorhands but a good, long-standing friend, we always skip the blah-blah about length, layers, etc and dive straight in to the good stuff. It’s invariably interesting, but this week it was story gold.

Continue reading

Jilly: What If? London Fantasy Edition

What If? London Fantasy EditionJust for fun, is anyone up for a game of creative ‘What If?’

I trip over story ideas all the time. It might be something I read, or a shop window display, or a person I see in the street. If something catches my interest I squirrel it away, even if I don’t know why. I have a phone full of notes, a scrapbook crammed with articles ripped out of magazines or newspapers, and a bookmark on my laptop called ‘story.’

The end is in sight on my time-sucking, non-writing-related project, but I won’t be ready to dive back in to Cam and Mary’s story for another week or two. I could use the odd snippets of time I do have to think about them and plan ahead, but I’ve found that doesn’t work well for me. I get frustrated if I know what I want to write and I can’t get the words down. Focusing on my WIP will only make me cranky with my non-writing friends and crankier still about my lack of progress.

I need to keep my imagination ticking over though, in ways that bring me pleasure and remind me why I love writing. Little boosts of story that will deliver me to Cam and Mary primed and ready to roll. Reading has been good, but Elizabeth’s Friday Improv challenges have been better, so today I decided to take a leaf out of her book, pull something from my ‘story’ archive and Continue reading

Jilly: Einstein’s Brain and Other Story Starters

18165523_sWhere do you get your best story ideas? Kat wrote a few days ago about being inspired by Mary Colter, architect and independent woman of the early 20th century. My golden nuggets often come from the news, and maybe it’s the advent of Spring, but I feel as though I’m being bombarded with amazing stuff at the moment. None of it’s romance-related, but I’m not complaining. Anything that keeps the imagination firing must be a good thing, right?

Today I was going to write a useful post about creating a series bible, but then I saw this article on the BBC website and knew I had to share it.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to read the full thing, the short version is Continue reading

Jilly: Man-Caves & Brainwaves

Deep Thinking AheadHas anything fired your imagination lately?

Like Justine, I’ve set myself a personal deadline to finish my book, so right now I have my head down. I’ve tackled a thorny issue that I’ve been ignoring for months, and I think it’s going to work out fine, but I’m not ready to share, so I’ll post about that later. I haven’t been reading new books or doing anything else to fill the creative well, but yesterday I gave myself an extra incentive to keep going for it.

I wrote in this post a few months ago that my home county of Derbyshire would make a great setting for a steampunk or fantasy world, and I promised myself that when Rose and Ian finally get their HEA, I’ll take a little time to have fun, play with the idea and see what happens. I’ve just been Up North for a family visit, and I decided to take the opportunity to acquire some background reading.

Yesterday morning I Continue reading