Sunday, July 8, 2012
Ideas for Writing Romance
Continuing with the topic of where we get our ideas, I want to share a brainstorming technique I came up with years ago. If you read Harlequin romances, you know some themes are more popular than others. In fact, I once saw a list on their site where you selected the ones you liked most. I believe it was intended for market research.
I decided to use their list for myself. Unfortunately, I later decided not to write category romance and tossed the cards. A decision I now regret since I've shared this technique multiple times. I know I wrote topics on index cards. For example, I might have written my heroes on blue cards. One card might have said Cowboy, the next Fireman...Soldier...Lawman... Other cards dealt more with themes and I chose another color, perhaps purple. One card might have said Twins, another Secret Baby...Secret Past...Bad Boy Past... For more topics you could read the blurbs on the back of romance novels, especially Harlequins. After I had a pile of cards, I was ready to brainstorm ideas for a book.
The brainstorming technique was easy and fun. I took my pile of cards and shuffled them, then I placed a blue and purple card on the table in front of me. Reading the cards, I would let my mind wonder to see if an idea came to me. If not, I would place down another card and see if it inspired an idea. Usually, I had a basic idea within fifteen minutes. From there, more ideas would come which would lead to a fuller, more complex plot.
This brainstorming technique could work for all types of books. I might create a stack for my mystery series with different colored cards for criminal types, weapons, motives, and locations. It reminds me of the game Clue. It was Colonel Mustard, in the library, with the candlestick.