AMA 1

Welcome to my little bit of the writing world.

I’ll be answering reader questions today. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know me and decide to follow my blog by email or subscribe to the RSS feed as you get to know more about me and the stories I publish.

Free ebook contest rules: each response/comment about my answer to any AMA today will earn you a chance in a random drawing to get a free ebook copy of any of my Amazon-listed titles (follow the link to my author page). Contest entries will be collected until January 18, 2019 11:59 PM (GMT -5:00)

Ask Me Anything

Question: How do you get inspired to write?

Hey, thanks for the question. My story ideas are inspired from a lot of different things. 

One way I get story ideas is reading the news. The why or the how will just pull at my subconscious and I’ll think “what drives that sort of thinking?” I currently subscribe to my local newspaper and several electronic versions of papers. I also regularly read several blogs and listen to several podcasts (see this post) on various topics related to those I use in my writing.

Here’s an example of this inspirational process: my first novel Turning Point was formed from the intersection of an on-set story about two actresses and the psychology of a closeted person lashing out because they can’t handle their attractions. To make that a romance with an HEA I worked my way through the “why” of the thinking of each of the characters, and plotted situations that challenged them to become self-aware and eventually accept her attraction to this woman.

Another way I’ll get story ideas is from my TBR pile. I don’t copy ideas, but I’ll read something and see how it might easily twist in another direction.  This process of alternative thinking inspired most of my fanfiction writing. That creative method continues to inspire my original writing, too. 
Another thing that really drives my writing ideas is the “trope.” But here’s the contrary thing. The spark might be a trope or a cliche, but I’ll write the story counter to expectations. This might actually be my favorite inspiration technique. How can I make something logically or psychologically flow and yet avoid what people see as cliches in this story type?

Here’s an example of these two things causing an idea to form: the story I wrote for the To Love and To Cherish anthology titled “Traditional Values.” This was a charity anthology to donate money to the Marriage Equality project. I was an organizing editor (along with Beth Wylde) as it was a project spearheaded by the group Sapphic Planet, of which I was a member. I also wanted to contribute a story. The concept of “traditional values” and the far right’s supposition that somehow same-sex marriage demeaned the concept would have been the perfect set up. My character Kennedy McMasters was the daughter of a Catholic New York cop. While he’d accepted Kennedy was gay, she wasn’t so sure he’d accept this. After all to christianity and Catholicism in particular, marriage is a sacrament. 

So Kennedy’s anxious and nervous as she wants to ask her girlfriend to marry her. The expectation as I set it up in Kennedy’s mind is her father’s going to shoot down the idea, he’s going to deny his “blessing” to her for this. Instead something else happens, leaving Kennedy’s head spinning and realizing other things are “traditional” too, and just as valuable, maybe moreso.

“Traditional Values” is now part of my anthology So Many Ways, though I do have a few paperback copies of the original multi-author collection To Love and To Cherish still on my shelf at home.

Thanks for the question! I hope you’ll check back for more questions and answers!

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