Wednesday, July 5, 2023

IWSG & Emotional Sparks

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.

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Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! 


July 5 question - 99% of my story ideas come from dreams. Where do yours predominantly come from?

Yikes! If I wrote from my dreams, I'd be writing horror or psychological thrillers and I'd probably never sleep again! #wimp

I don't really know...

My head is always popping with ideas, one of the advantages of having a bouncy brain. I think most of my story ideas start with an emotion. Usually, it's an emotion from the crisis scene (betrayal, fear, despair, panic...) although sometimes it's the opening scene where everything changes for the character.

The emotion comes attached to a character and then I know WHY they're feeling that emotion. Then I suddenly have backstory attached to the character.

My subconscious does a whole lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to story ideas - especially when the new character has been a secondary character in one or more stories.

For Built Of Second Chances (which just released last week!), the spark of the story was the feeling of total panic when a person who's been in witness protection for years meets up with someone who can put her at risk. But that person is someone she's always loved.

That was followed immediately by the emotion of the man who meets up with the woman he thought was dead. His emotion spark was betrayal and anger...with a bit of reluctant love tossed in.

My current WIP started with the emotion of a person grieving the death of her father and the terror of realizing his killer is after her too.

Those emotional sparks give me backstories to think about for a while and then my characters are ready to meet each other and I get to find out how they figure it all out.

How about you? Do your story ideas start with emotions, characters, settings, or plots? or something else? If you're a reader, what do you think was the spark for the author of the last great book you read?