Sunday, April 10, 2011


     Have you ever wondered how novelists come up with their story ideas?  Well, I have, especially these last few weeks when I had to stay off my feet due to my leg injury.
     Ordinarily, I read a novel every Thursday, part of my weekly routine.  But, in the last few weeks I’ve read four novels and a book of short stories.  I love to read and I also enjoy studying the different styles of writers.
     Stuart Wood, for example, injects humor into the conversations of his characters.  There is also a familiar place that shows up in each mystery, so you feel at home.  It makes you feel that you are there, like you are a part of the story.  That makes it personal. I especially like the Stone Barrington novels, which are my favorites.  He is a lawyer, detective, and a darn good one.
     And then, there is another of my favorite authors, James Patterson.  I’ve read most of his novels too.  My favorite character in his books is Alex Cross, the detective and FBI agent who chases the villain and usually catches him in the end.  You will probably remember the movies “Along Came a Spider” and “Kiss the Girls” that aired on television.  The books were even better than the movies, and the movies were pretty darn good.  
     But, I still wondered how they come up with the ideas for their stories, so I did a little research on the matter.
     Some writers get their ideas from the newspaper or TV news, while others observe people and eavesdrop on conversations that may spark an idea.
     Well-known author Kurt Vonnegut, said, “Somebody gets into trouble, and gets out of it again.  People love that story.  They never get tired of it.”
     I agree!  That’s the basis for most all good stories.  Whether it’s a love story or a mystery, there has to be suspense to keep the story alive and move it forward.
     The novelist has a great imagination that lets him conjure up characters and put them into real-life situations that advance the story.
     If a story isn’t fast-paced, I usually put it down in favor of one that is.
     My favorite genre is the Murder Mystery.  That is usually what I read and most often I read the whole book in one sitting, if I can.  I like instant gratification.  I want to know “who done it,” before the day is out.
     But, ideas come from everywhere, everyday.  Little events that happen in the life of people around you, something you observe that starts your creative juices flowing, or an original thought that is expanded into a good story using a keen imagination.  If it works, that’s all that matters.
     Writing is a lonely occupation and one that puts your emotions and fears out there for all to see.  It’s like opening a vein and bleeding onto the page.  So much of the author goes into every story he or she writes.  You might find that a lot of the dialogue comes from life, or from the author’s fantasy life.
     Fiction or non-fiction, the story will probably touch those who read it, and perhaps make a difference in their lives.
     A novel is the story of someone’s life, real or imagined.  We read for entertainment and to learn, sometimes both at the same time.  A well-written book will stir your senses, whether it’s Science Fiction, a Mystery, or a good love story that leaves you with a lump in your throat.  
     Your minds eye will conjure up a much better picture of the action, than what you see on television or movies.  
     Pick up a book and lose yourself in another world, the world of imagination, where anything can happen, and usually does.

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