People ask me all the time, "Where do you get all the ideas to write all these books?" It's a great question that I am sure many, if not all, authors have been asked at some point. My answer is always - lots of places! I have always been a creative person. I used to tell myself stories as a way to entertain myself before I decided to write them down. Ideas come from all over. Sometimes I'll hear a song that will inspire me, sometimes someone shares a personal experience that sparks an idea, sometimes I even wake up from a dream, thinking - "That could be an interesting story!"
The hardest part of writing for me is taking that tiny bit of inspiration and flushing it out into a full story. Sometimes all that's popped in my head is the pivotal scene at the end of the novel and I have to figure out how to get the characters to that point in somewhere around 65,000 words! That's when the real work begins and perhaps my psychology and social work degrees come in handy. Figuring out who my characters are and why they are the way they are takes time and real thought.
Everyone finds inspiration in different ways, but I thought it might be helpful to share some tried and true ways to spark some ideas. Here are three tips to help inspire your writing:
1. READ! I have heard this time and time again. Read as much and as often as you can. Obviously, don't copy and paste what you read into your own writing - that's a big no-no. But look for tropes and as you read think about where you would take these characters if you were writing it. It's also helpful to read books from different genres. Sometimes reading something new and different can give you fresh ideas when you feel like you're out.
2. Socialize - get out and talk to people. Sometimes your friends and family have some interesting things happen to them. I can't tell you how many times I tell someone that I'm going to have to use what they just told me in a book. In fact, one of the other Heartwarming authors shared a story about her son at RWA last year that I managed to work into my new book coming out in August. I wonder if she'll notice! It also helps to talk it out with someone when you have an idea but aren't sure where to go with it. My new series is about stopping weddings. When I talked to my former editor about some of my ideas, I sparked her imagination and she gave me some great starters for a story. My book coming out in January 2020 was the result of one of her ideas! Thanks, Claire :)
3. Get out and live life - Sometimes the best ideas come when you least expect it. I know I can get so focused on coming up with an idea that my brain simply freezes. When I step away and do some crafting or go hang out with my friends and family, I'm hit with a great idea for a new book. Our brain needs to relax and then it can work again. Don't force it and it will happen!
This August, the fourth book in my Grace Note Records series comes out, FALLING FOR HER BODYGUARD. I did a lot of talking with others to get inspired to write this one. In fact, Carol and I discussed it at length when we were together last. She helped me work out the perfect conflict for someone working as a radio personality. I hope I've inspired some of you today!
Amy Vastine has been plotting stories in her head for as long as she can remember. An eternal optimist, she studied social work, hoping to teach others how to find their silver lining. Now, she enjoys creating happily ever afters for all to read. Amy lives outside Chicago with her high school sweetheart husband, three teenagers who keep her on her toes, and their two sweet but mischievous pups.