Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Where the muse comes from

I have often been asked where I get my inspiration from. Here are a few ways ideas came to me:

* On the train home from work. I close my eyes and let my mind wander. Being already tired from a day at work, I am not focussing on anything particular. Frequently, though, if I have been thinking about a story – or even working on one - thoughts will occur to me as my mind takes a stroll through my thoughts! I keep a small notepad with me to jot down any ideas that occur to me – particularly when I am finishing off a story and my mind will think of lots of things to check out. For instance, I used lots of sci-fi references in ‘Bounty Hunters’ Captive’ and my thoughts were like this:

‘Sonic screwdriver’
‘Matter transporter’
‘Aldebaran brandy’
‘Change Chulak to Chulluk or similar’
‘Sex on console’
‘Washing her hero’s genitals when he is ill’
‘Anti gravity sex’
……  (I often wonder what passengers around me think of me if I feel myself going red at a particularly erotic scene I may conceive!)

* In the bath having a long soak. Similar to above – just letting your mind wander and not think of anything specific, ideas may occur to you. I guess both this and the one above, could be called a form of meditation. My very first book, ‘Just Good Friends’ was conceived this way.

* In unusual circumstances – I came up with the idea of ‘Alien Manhunt 3’ whilst having a Hot Stone massage at a spa! (This also appears in the story!)

* Writing retreats. You can present your idea to another person and see how they like it (when I was off recovering from an operation this year I had several Writing Fridays with fellow writer, Morgan King. It inspired both our stories that came out in June with Luminosity Publishing. Morgan wrote ‘Third Times a Steal’ and I wrote ‘Dark Captive’. Setting that time aside to do nothing else but write or think up ideas can give you the space and opportunity.

* Co-writing a story, which I did with ‘The Last Werewolf’ co-authored by Susan Laine. We found the process of bouncing ideas off of each other exhilarating. Of course, if we had written the story by ourselves, we probably would have taken the characters in different directions. As it was, we agreed that it was born of both our minds.

* Going to conferences and attending workshops. You may be inspired you to go away and write up an idea you may have had in the workshops. The latest anthology I am editing, ‘Love and Lust in Space’ was launched at the last Smut by the Sea event after I gave a workshop on ‘Sex in Sci-fi’. This was followed up by several submissions from people who attended! (Including myself – watch this space for that story - entitled ‘The Sonic Dilda’tor’!)

* Listening to friends or family. The idea of ‘Champagne Fridays’ which features in the three in the ‘Friends & Acquaintances’ series and the cross-over three ‘Doms & Acquaintances’ was stolen from a colleague at work who often spoke of the Champagne Fridays she and friends have every Friday…. That particular colleague refuses to tell me anything, now!

* Dreams. I woke up after dreaming a story that then became ‘Alien Manhunt 1’. The key is to have a notebook handy to write any ideas down before you forget them.

* Reading/watching films/TV. I am not talking plagiarism here, but a story that you might enjoy reading/watching might lead you into thinking, ‘I would have written that differently’. I have just finished watching the last ever episode of ‘The Mysteries of Laura’ which I adored. The series was cancelled after two series leaving the heroine declaring her love to her ex husband, not realising he had just finished proposing to his new girlfriend. I then considered how I would continue that series if it had continued and came up with two options – the new girlfriend would either realise the hero wasn’t really in love with her and break it off (rather boring, actually) or she would be shot and die in his arms leaving the heroine to solve the murder (much more fun)!

Along the same lines, after reading several BDSM stories set in clubs I thought it would be good to set a series in an English country mansion that holds BDSM events – hence ‘The Manor of Decadence’ series.

* Lastly – ideas will come to you just about anywhere when you least expect it. Standing waiting to cross the road (running away from two prospective lovers – ‘Chasing Emily’), at the photocopier (sitting on it to have sex – ‘Marital Duties’ in Men for Hire anthology), washing up (putting an advert in the paper for a wife – ‘Wife for Three’), a hike in the woods (being hunted through a forest - 'Alien Manhunt 2'), reading a brochure put through your door on evening classes (offering a Retraining programme for Subs and Doms – ‘Retraining the Sub’ and ‘Retraining the Dom’).

Visiting a friend who has dogs and petting them (a human sub being collared by her wolf lovers – ‘Collared by Wolves’), doing the gardening and pruning the rose bushes (leaving a trail of roses that leads to the bedroom – ‘Torn Between Two Lovers’), visiting a Christmas Fair (lots of inspiration there for ‘Naughty Christmas Wishes’ which is filled with Christmas references). You get the drift.

To summarise with a funny story – in ‘Friendly Seduction’ I used a story a friend told me relating to her dogs opening the fridge door and wolfing down the mincemeat. I then used the dog’s name for the dog in my story. Since I had done that much I then used her surname as the hero’s surname and her husband’s first name for an antagonist. To compensate, I dedicated the book to her for ‘… shamelessly plagiarising details of her life’. Unfortunately, it didn’t occur to me that people may think it was her love life I was talking about!!!

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