Monday, April 18, 2011

Inspiration. It's a funny thing.

Writers get asked all the time where their ideas come from. At least I do. I've blogged about this a couple of times here and elsewhere, but I thought it would be fun to break down a book and share some specifics of just how ideas and some of the elements end up in books. Let's take my latest, PLAY ME.

The name Gabe - this has been in my 'names I like and would love to use in a book some day' file for a long time. It's one of those names that get mentally tagged when I hear or see it and know it would make a great character. Of course it helps that I think it's just plain masculine and hot for a guy!

Setting - PLAY ME is set in LA. It's not described in detail because it's not really critical to the story, but the beach area and Lily's house is one I used to walk, ride or drive past regularly. I loved living in LA. Of course, I could get to/from work and do all the activities I enjoyed by staying in my neighborhood and off the freeways. Also, living in LA you're constantly aware of the dangers of the city and those 'do not go under any circumstances' areas. It was always a fear of mine that I would take a wrong turn and end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Again, I could have described everything about the setting in minute detail in the book, but it's not important to Gabe and Lily's story. It is important for me though when I write to be able to clearly picture the setting so this is why I often set my books in places I've lived. Luckily, I've lived in many wonderful, interesting and varied places and traveled to many, many more!

Ironing scene - I hate ironing. Actually I don't iron. I'd do anything to avoid it. I'll even not buy an item of clothing if it really does need to be ironed LOL. I have this wrinkle releaser product I use and try and fold everything directly from the dryer. That's how I 'iron'. I get a kick out of a guy ironing. Sorry :). Just me having some fun while I was writing.

Panties Gabe wants Lily to wear - Shhh, don't tell anyone but I have these pair myself LOL.

The 'declaration' scene - I had written this scene, but it just didn't 'feel' right to me. I tweaked it. It still didn't sing. I polished it some more. It was missing something. I was browsing a Victoria's Secret catalogue and BAM I had the element I was looking for for that all important scene. For those who don't know, Victoria's Secret is a large lingerie chain very widespread here in the US. I can't really give any more detail than that about what it was that I saw and used because it's kind of a spoiler, but I had my ending when I finished browsing that catalogue!!

And for the rest? I'm not really sure. Somewhere in the deep recesses of my imagination, I guess. I just hope where ever or however it comes, it doesn't stop anytime soon :)!


  1. Great post, Kaily. Enjoyed it. I might add, it's a good blog idea for all reveal the inspiration for the tidbits in their novels. Menage in the shower...uh...maybe not THAT one. LOL

  2. Thanks, Cara. There's a scene in PLAY ME that I um...decided not to reveal the inspiration for LOL. A little mystery is a good thing, no?

  3. I'm the same way about ironing! In fact, if hubby needs a shirt ironed (I buy wrinkle resistant, but it happens on occasion), he does it himself. Heh, I have a man ironing in my room ;).

    Love your point about inspiration...that we, as writers, need to have some of those details in our heads, even if they don't get elaborated on paper.

  4. Rula, ironing to me is torture. Seriously, the last time I ironed (except for the odd item here and there) was probably over 15 years ago. Yay for modern fabrics!

    Yes! I find I have a lot of the details in my head but it would bog the story down too much. For instance, I usually know complete and very detailed backgrounds on my characters but most of that is not explicitly in the book. It's critical to the story though :).

  5. I think I struggle with the setting the most, that's something I need to work on and the advice is appreciated.

    Inspiration is the easiest. There are those magic moments where something happens or I see someone and think, "I need to jot that down!" Most recently I spotted a heroine in traffic while meeting my husband for lunch. Hopefully, her story will make it out there somewhere. :-)

    Ironing...there are so many stories my family could tell you. I hate it and avoid it at all costs. I was talking to a co-worker earlier today getting advice on where to buy wrinkle free shirts.

  6. Dreama, I think setting can be tricky too. You kind of have to decide how much it factors into the story and how much (and what) to include so it doesn't sound like a travel guide. Of course, you want the reader to get a sense of where the story is unfolding so they can use their imagination and be right there. It's about balance :).

    Inspiration is easy for me too LOL. I have at least 50 story ideas churning around and I see or hear things ALL the time that I know I'll use somehow at some stage.

    I have a funny story about ironing. My kids saw an ad on TV one night that had a woman ironing. They just stared at the TV and finally one of them turned to me and said. "What is she doing? What is that?" They couldn't figure out why someone was 'painting' clothes on a funny looking table LOL.