The single most often asked question of me as an author is, “Where do you get your inspiration?” I usually just give a flippant, “Anywhere and everywhere. Life. Look around you.” But in all honesty, the first book I wrote for adults, Love on the Rocks, came about while I was doing typing tests to get the flexibility back in my hand after my thumb had been amputated. The Hopewell Rocks tourist attraction is only about a half hour drive from where I live and I’d been there many times over the years. I’d never heard of a romance being located there – and believe me, I’ve read plenty.
I ran across a typing test involving beaches and I immediately thought of The Rocks at Hopewell Cape. As I painstakingly retyped the copy with a sore hand, an idea sprang to mind and I quickly shifted gears. I can do this. I can write a novel about The Rocks. Seven weeks later, my thumb still wasn’t co-operating fully, but I had finished and edited a 63,000 word novel.
Boy, was I impressed! Up until that point, I had written poetry, short stories, and books for children, but never had I taken on a project of such magnitude. As my mom would say, “I was feeling my oats that day.” 🙂
Everybody that read that book encouraged me to submit it. So I did, and suffered through rejection after rejection. I kept reading posts about how a writer learns something new with every book they write. So, I set my ‘baby’ aside and started on another. Surely, I had another story in me.
Daydreams & Night Scenes was the next novel I wrote and, although it has not yet been published, it’s on my to-do-list for editing and publishing.
A few years ago, I studied and registered to be a foster parent. I got thinking of that one day. Quite often, foster homes are situated next to more affluent homes, as mine was, although I had a ranch style bungalow that I loved. What if a poor foster child fell in love with the neighborhood rich boy? But he never noticed her, until…they attended a business conference at a swanky hotel years later.
Yep, that was the start of my idea for the new novel. By then I’d learned about GMC (goal, motivation, and conflict) and did up a GMC sheet for my story. For me, but maybe not for all authors, a GMC Sheet includes:
Setting: Jot down the location and anything else that puts a firm picture in mind. City? Country? Ranch? Farm?
Heroine: Who is she? What does she work at? What does she drive? Where is she from? What does she look like? What is her goal? Her motivation? What conflict will arise that might keep her from getting it? Does she have any flaws? How does she need to grow or what does she need to overcome in order to reach her goal?
Hero: Same as for heroine. We need our readers to love the main characters, so give it your best shot.
Plot: What makes your story unique? Develop the plot here.
Sub-plot(s): If any, list them.
Black Moment: That point of no return when the main character(s) think all is lost.
Resolution: How will you fix it? What is going to tie it all together and give them their happy-ever-after?
Tag line or Log Line: (for marketing purposes.) Have you thought of one?
Writing is a lot of work and has a continual learning curve. It’s research, writing, more research, more writing, and when the story is finished and you think you’re done, then comes the editing. And the submissions. And the rejections. Make sure you have broad shoulders if this is the career path you’ve chosen. Remember, you can’t please everybody.