These four words can drive a writer crazy or at least, that’s the way I feel about them but I know that the speaker means well and has no idea where/how an author gets ideas. Sometimes the author doesn’t know either.
Stephen King said it best, “…good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.”
I have so many ideas already jotted down that I couldn’t possibly live long enough to write them all. And more come to me daily and, truth to be told, nightly—as in the middle of the night. I seldom get up to write them down and I usually forget them by morning. Great literature prizes dissipate with my dreams.
My partial solution to this dilemma is to write as many short stories as I can. Then I must find a theme that links them together in groups and put them in a book. I have started such a theme with my Twisted Tales by one of my alter egos, Lea Chan. I wrote four short stories from ideas I had and discovered that in each of them, I had a scene beginning with the words, “The doorbell rang.” So, I used that as the title of the first of my Twisted Tales. And since I have many more twisted ideas, I will add them but with a different title.
At the moment I am writing romantic short stories from ideas I once had for novels and will put them in one book. All of the stories have connections to the three romance novels I wrote as Tricia Lee, another of my alter egos.
And so it goes. I have plans for many more series such as time travel, the world’s richest person, culinary romances, and on and on. Will I finish them? As I once told my art students, “There’s no such thing as finished.” But alas, I won’t live forever.