Friday, January 22, 2021

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

 I've spoken more times than I can count to groups, and I can always count on one question being asked. "Where do you get your ideas?" The answer, of course, is ideas are all around us. Admittedly, it takes a bit of imagination to flesh them  out, and there's a certain talent (or luck or whatever) to turn them into a story that will hold the reader's attention through the whole book.

When I walked into the parking garage of the med school one evening I had the thought that "this would be a great setting for a kidnapping." I turned that idea into one of my more successful books, Stress Test.

Ideas aren't the thing. What marks a real writer is the ability to take a single idea, flesh it out, add the things that keep the reader's interest through out the book, and give them a flash-bang finish--what Jim Bell calls a "knock-out ending" that will have them taking a deep breath when it was over and start them looking for another one of your books.

When you can do that, you'll have turned a simple idea into a book worth reading. 


Priscilla Bettis said...

Yes, taking the idea from a thought-seed to a completed story with a knock-out ending is what differentials great authors from also-rans.

Richard Mabry said...

Keep that in mind, and you'll be on the best-seller list for quite a while.