Yesterday, Pamela Tracy blogged about three different story ideas sparked by a camping trip she took with her family. I started thinking about situations I’ve seen or been involved in that might spark an idea. My favorite recent one was watching a man in my neighborhood walk into his house carrying a small dog kennel with one hand, and cradling a yellow Labrador puppy against his shoulder with the other. The fact that he’s a retired US Navy SEAL made it extra sweet. If he’d been carrying a diaper bag and a baby, I probably would have melted right on the spot. Sigh.
I immediately began trying to think of a way to work this incident into a book, but I think it will have to stay in the back of my mind for a while. Maybe some other scenes and characters will come along to join it and form a good story.
For a writer, almost anything can be turned into a story because our brains don’t work like other people’s do. We’re constantly dramatizing and extending things in our minds. Last weekend, at the Tucson Festival of Books, which I attended with about one hundred twenty-five thousand other book lovers, I saw a tall man walking around wearing a bright pink pig head. Not the costume, only the head. I wondered if he’d lost a bet, then I began imagining other scenarios in which he had to wear the head. Maybe he was trying to hide his face from some villains? Could he be advertising a pork growers’ convention? The possibilities are endless.Last year, one of my cousins suggested I include Choctaw Wild Mustangs, the Oklahoma Heritage Horse, in an upcoming book. I often receive suggestions like this. Sometimes I use them, and sometimes I don’t, but this one was too good to pass up. In my May Heartwarming, His Twin Baby Surprise, my hero, Ben McAdams decides that it’s his civic duty to raise and help preserve these purebred mustangs, even though he knows next to nothing about them. I didn’t either, so I had to really dig into some research. As it turned out, one of the ranchers who is working to preserve these horses lives within a few miles of the ranch my parents owned in Oklahoma. If my dad were still alive, he could probably have told me everything I needed to know, so the research became bittersweet, but still fascinating.
If you’re a writer, has anyone given you a suggestion for a story that made it into a book? If you’re strictly a dedicated reader, is there an incident or idea you’d like to see in a book?
Patricia Forsythe is the author of many romances, both traditionally and electronically published. Her most recent release is The Husband She Can’t Forget, book two in her Oklahoma Girls series, which was released in February 2017. Book number one, At Odds With The Midwife was released in November 2016, and book three, His Twin Baby Surprise in May 2017.