Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A New Year, A New Story?

by Lynette Eason @LynetteEason

How do you keep your writing fresh and the ideas flowing?

So…it’s now January 7th. That means we’ve just begun a new year. Have you made your resolutions? Do you even bother? I definitely have some things I’d like to accomplish this year, but instead of making them resolutions, I’ve decided to just pray about it. LOL.

Life has taken a new turn for my family. I quit the day job—yes, the one that had the benefits—and am now homeschooling my son and am back to writing full time.  Which also means I’m looking ahead to the next twelve months.  Which means I need lots and lots of material! LOL. So where am I going to find it?

Want me to share a secret? You want to know where I get a lot of my ideas?

I watch television and read. A lot.

Seriously.

Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard that if you want to be a REAL writer, you should turn the television off. And for some people that may be true. But it works for me. I find my creativity level ebbs and flows according to my time spent watching LMN and reading widely. So over Christmas break, I watched movies with my kids and read a few books I’d been trying to get to. Yes, I have a deadline and yes, it’s looming way to close. But I was having trouble getting words on the paper. And the words I WAS putting there just made me yawn. Can you feel my panic starting to bleed through with this post??

So, I quit trying, curled up on the couch with my warm fuzzy blanket and watched a marathon of suspenseful movies. I had the ideas flowing in between naps. I didn’t even have to watch the entire movie to get ideas. Sometimes I could watch a scene or two.

So does this mean I’m plagiarizing? Of course not. I don’t transcribe the movie. I simply take an idea, a character, a theme, a plot line—whatever. And turn it into my very own story. I put my own spin on it. I add to the character, I build the idea into something that makes it uniquely my own. But yes, I got the idea from the movie.

Here’s what I wrote down while watching the movie… (please keep in mind that this is not edited, etc. It’s just a short blurb of an IDEA.) An no, I don’t mind sharing because even if you decided to write a story using the same idea, it wouldn’t be anything like MY story.

The only known survivor of a serial killer, Maggie Pendleton has finally put her life back together and managed to suppress most of the nightmares that still haunt her . Unfortunately, they’re not to stay gone for long. One afternoon, she comes home to find her best friend and roommate (daughter? niece?) missing.  But there’s no sign of forced entry, no sign of a struggle. She goes to the cops but her roomie’s past (daughter’s/niece’s recent acts of rebellion??) leads them to believe she might have left on her own. Subtle evidence convinces Maggie that she was taken—by the same serial killer who’d kidnapped her two years ago. Maggie doesn’t remember where she was kept, just that she was somewhere in the middle of the woods. She doesn’t remember how she got out, she just remembers waking in the hospital with her best friend at her side. Oh, and she remembers she wasn’t the only one. She was in a dungeon type cage. With bars. She remembers the footsteps. She remembers the screams. Now she must force herself to walk back into her nightmares to save her friend (daughter? niece?)

See? An entire story idea thanks to spending a few hours one afternoon hanging out with my family, eating popcorn and vegging in front of the television. You can’t lose when you do this because your family loves you for it, too! (It’s called killing two birds with one stone, but the family doesn’t need to know you look at it that way. Ha!)

So, if you’re a writer, where do you get your ideas from? If you’re a reader, what kinds of stories do you like to read? Anything you’d like to see show up in a book?

Also, I wanted to throw in a little advertisement for a couple of conferences where I’ll be teaching. March 13-14 I’ll be in Spartanburg, SC teaching at the Carolina Christian Writers Conference (more info here: http://www.fbs.org/ministries/special-events/carolina-christian-writers-conference/

And the next weekend, March 20-21, I’ll be in Greenville with Edie Melson, DiAnn Mills and Kristen Heitzmann for a small intimate gathering of writing and teaching. The conference is limited so if you’re interested, be sure to sign up now at http://www.weekendwiththewriters.com/

Would love to see you there!!

OH! And one more thing! If you’d like to win a copy of Retribution, my second ebook SHORT (10,000 words and ONLY in DIGITAL format), just leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win.


Happy New Year!!
Lynette

TWEETABLES


Lynette Eason is the best selling, award winning author of the Women of Justice Series and the Deadly Reunions series. Since 2007, she has written/contracted thirty-six books. Currently, she writes for Revell and Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line. Her books have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists. She has won several awards including the 2013 Carol Award for WHEN A HEART STOPS. Lynette teaches at writing conferences all over the country. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Lynette can be found online at www.lynetteeason.com and www.facebook.com/lynette.eason and @lynetteeason on Twitter.

11 comments:

  1. I don't watch much TV, but my story ideas come from life and overheard conversations. LOL Sometimes, only a line can prompt a story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, Conversations are great! Newspaper headlines are too.

      Delete
  2. Great idea! I usually sit with hubby in the evening while watches his fav shows (bored outta mind!). Maybe u should keep a notebook nearby and write up little scenes -- a bunch if scenes later.... Seriously, that is a great way to kick up the imagination. The two conferences sound great, I just may have to take a visit to our daughter in Anderson! Ya know, free lodging!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Come on, Tammy! Would love to have you!

      Delete
  3. Thanks for sharing this, Lynette. I'm also a movie buff and get lots of ideas that way.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love this idea, especially since I have trouble giving myself permission to sit and do nothing (watch TV).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As long as it's a productive time for me, I'm all good with it. LOL.

      Delete
  5. I’m glad someone else admits to watching TV, Lynette. It’s one of my favorite ways to unwind. One time I just flipped the channels and wrote down what was on the screen. One word per flip, and then I had a list to write some flash fiction.

    Another time I went into a consignment store and found an object that helped me figure out my protagonist’s family background. It was an old turquoise model car. Of course I had to buy the $9.99 thing. This piece of inspiration sets on my grandpa's roll top desk in my office.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ooh! These are all such great thoughts! I love watching TV as well ... especially the crime shows (NCIS, Bones, Forever, etc.). I get ideas all over the place ... conversations, seeing something as I'm driving down the road, and doing mundane tasks around the house is a great time for my brain to storm up something new. I love Melodie's idea of flipping channels and writing down one word about what is on the screen. I may have to try that one! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for this post Lynette! My family would love it if I sat and watched their "boring" tv shows - lol. Maybe I'll try it and see if it works for me:)

    ReplyDelete