Where do you get your ideas from?

When I wrote last week about finishing a book and looking forward to starting the next one, Siany left a comment asking how I chose which idea to go with. The answer to that is pretty easy – whichever one I can’t stop thinking about. I have a list of about ten books I’d like to write and they all pop in and out of my head, but there’s always one that’s – as my mother-in-law would say – pecking my head, and so that’s the one I go with.

Sian also said she worries she’ll never have another idea, so I thought I’d write about what gave me the idea for JessieΒ β™₯ NYC. The line on the picture above is from a Jason Mraz song, If It Kills Me. It’s about a boy who’s in love with his best friend’s girlfriend:

How long can I go on like this, wishing to kiss you, before I rightly explode?

This double life I lead isn’t healthy for me, in fact it makes me nervous.

If I get caught I could be risking it all.

When I first heard it, I thought, “Hmm. Interesting.” But it wasn’t until these lines that I knew I wanted to write about it:

Well you and I

Why we go carrying on for hours on end

We get along much better

Than you and your boyfriend

I just love that so much. I started thinking about this boy and he popped into my head, standing in Times Square, New York, holding a bunch of red roses, wearing a tuxedo and trying to flag down a cab. I don’t know where he came from, but there he was. I called him Finn.

When I started writing Jessie, that’s all I had. (It wasn’t called Jessie then, cos I didn’t even have Jessie.) I also had another idea basied on the E Annie Proulx book, Accordion Crimes, which follows an accordion through various different owners. My idea was to follow a lost iPod. I started writing it for NaNoWriMo last year. Jessie was the owner of the iPod. She went to New York and left it in a cab. The cab that Finn ended up hailing. He found the iPod.

I persevered with the iPod idea for the rest of November, adding a few more characters, but I kept thinking about Jessie and Finn. So I scrapped everyone else, binned the (fictional) iPod and wrote Jessie and Finn’s story instead.

(I hope you like it.)


7 thoughts on “Where do you get your ideas from?

  1. Thank you for writing such a great post – I have been worrying about never having another idea again. I feel so much calmer after reading this πŸ™‚

  2. Thank you! It’s so lovely of you to write this post (and it’s really interesting too). I’m looking forward to this book.

    There’s all sorts of different stories in my novel, so for the last five years, any story I’ve had has gone into my book. I’m still really worried that I’ll use up all of my ideas in one novel and that will be it. I don’t really have another idea pecking away (well, a tiny one that I’m not convinced by) and I kinda expected to by now.

    Maybe I’ll concentrate on finishing The Book first, see what happens in the next couple of months…

    Two thumbs up for this post πŸ˜€

  3. This is such a helpful post, I love reading about authors’ writing processes. You’ve made me realise that you don’t have to have it all mapped out, you just have to actually start writing and see where it takes you, and what ends up sticking πŸ™‚

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