People always ask how I get my ideas. That’s a hard question to answer, because I get them from so many places. Sometimes I wake up with an idea in my head, or a fragment of a dream that turns into a story. Other times it’s a twist on something happening in the world. For the Isabella Howerton series, the idea came about several years ago when there was a string of strange flu viruses. There was the bird flu, then the swine flu, and a stream of media frenzy surrounding them. Vaccines were created with lightning speed, and I wondered how these brilliant scientists could come up with vaccines so quickly.
I don’t have anything against vaccines in general. I’ve been vaccinated, my kids were vaccinated, but when the swine flu vaccine came out, I had reservations. How reliable could something be that was created that quickly? How safe was it? This wasn’t the MMR vaccine that’s been around for years. This was something new.
I had all these questions, as many people did, but my creative side took it to a different place… a fictitious place. Forget about pigs, birds and the mundane. If vampires existed, what could they do with this? I immediately jotted the idea down and wrote about five pages. Inevitably, life happened and I got busy. I set it aside… for five years!
When I decided to dedicate time to this passion of writing, I pulled out all these old story ideas. Several appealed to me, and these will likely turn into full-fledged stories later on, but this one was at the forefront. I wanted something fun and exciting.
I dusted the story off and continued from where I left off, letting the story just flow from scene to scene. After about 30 pages, I went back to my outline and revised it into three major parts for books. Then, I went back and wrote some more. Over time, the story has evolved and changed, and I’ve updated my outline repeatedly. When I get stuck on an idea, or I worry about what to do with a character or scene, I sleep on it. When I wake up, usually the answer is there.
The main thing is just to write. I waited far too long to follow my dream. So, if you aspire to be a writer, do it! Whatever it is, wherever the idea came from, write it down! The world is full of ideas and fascinating people. Observe. Dream. Write. Then do it all over again!