Friday, June 22, 2012


Looking for ideas!

Where do you get the ideas for your plots? Every writer has been asked that question at least once, and now, I'm asking. The idea came to me because that's the stage I'm at in my writing, looking for a new plot. But don't worry, I won't steal yours because I have found one. Well, two actually so now I've got to flesh them both out a bit and see which one to go with.

I enjoy this stage in writing, always thinking, 'what if?'. I'll write the various thoughts, character names, weapons and zinger lines down on pieces of paper all around the house. I have a pair of reading glasses in each room. Perhaps I should have a large notepad along with them, a gathering spot for these ideas to ease the usual stages of frustration when trying the find my jottings.

Of course, I enjoy all stages of writing. But right now, anything is possible. My character Lizzie is set for any new adventure. I just have to find the right one for her and her book club pals. This, of course, means creating the perfect victim, too. Oh, the possibilities.

Do you pattern your characters, particularly the victim, after people you know? Are you someone who deals with the frustrations of your other job on the written page. Villainous boss equals murder victim? Or better yet, murderer!

Or maybe you carefully comb the morning newspaper, waiting for the ingenious incident that will 'trigger' the crime. The paper is full of suggestions, although many of them are too unlikely to be believed when used in fiction. Maybe the story about a politician who hits 'reply all' gives you a starting point. I think that would make a good one. Don't worry, it's all yours. I have mine...I think.

The next few days, or maybe even weeks will tell if it's a keeper. But in the meantime, I'll enjoy this somewhat lazy patch of plotting time. And these hot, humid days are just perfect for that task.

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase

Berkley Prime Crime, now available
READ & BURIED, coming Dec., 2012

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