Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Wandering Mind

This month, and next, many of us on the blog will share our secrets for writing. The first topic is

An idea for a book can come from anywhere. I suspect I’m not alone when I say it is easier for me to come up ideas when I don’t feel rushed.

The ideas for my first published works came to me as a result of letting my mind wander while in a relaxed setting, with no deadlines.

When I wrote Liquid Hypnosis, I had already decided to write about a female DEA agent. I knew an agent who would answer any questions I might have. He had worked undercover in nightclubs, so I let my mind wander… what was he looking for while seated at the bar?… drug deals… date rape drugs…. are scientists trying to find an antidote?... brain research… the accidental discovery of a hypnosis drug…who would want it?... what would they do with it?

I now had my heroine, the female agent, and liquid hypnosis, the means and motive for several crimes. From there I needed a hero. The greater the conflict the better. I had already decided the scientist, who came up with liquid hypnosis, would be kidnapped, so I decided to make the hero his brother. Since both the agent and the brother are looking for the same man, they would have reason to cross paths often. You can’t have a romantic suspense unless the couple spends time together. I also decided to up the conflict by making the hero a criminal, but he has to be likable, so his crimes had to help others. I also had to map out the major turning points in the story. At each turning point, if an idea didn’t come to me immediately, I wrote a list of possibilities until I found one I liked.

I also let my mind wander with my short story Once Upon a Weekend. A friend intended to put together an anthology of fairytale type stories to raise money for another friend’s surgery. I decided a fractured fairytale would be fun. I let my mind wander… Cinderella… Rapunzel… his hair grows instead… need a castle… a man built a small castle home in Tucson… he could build a small castle for a hair salon… for his sister… need a heroine… she needs a reason to be there… the sister owns the shop… she could be the manager… he’s cursed… how?... a witch… how will he break the curse?

Many writers have little tricks to tell their mind it is time to write. I find I am more creative when I spend time outside or near water. If I can’t go outside, I burn incense. Also, a white chocolate mocha from Starbucks helps jump-start my creative side. Try various ways to pamper yourself and find what works for you.

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