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Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Second Book Finished and Ideas for my Third One.

Last Tuesday at 15.45 I finished my second book. I knew the end was drawing closer but even after another week has passed I still can't believe I am now the author of two books.

However, I am not satisfied with that thought. Even though it's great I have produced that amount of work in a ten month time frame, I still want to dive straight into my third book. I have always been driven with an endless urge to get things done but now I realise that I have to slow things down in preparation to write this elusive third book.

So what's the matter, you might think. Why is the third book going to be any different or harder than the two I have written? Well, here's the thing ...

My first two books have been based on real life factual accounts, but I want my third book to be a complete work of fiction. This time I am going to have to magic the plot line out of thin air, and that's the thought scaring me the most. How on earth do other writers manage to write book after book after book and still have ideas to make all of them work? Can anyone be that imaginative?

I realise some people are and they are the lucky ones. But I have a sneaking suspicion the majority of writers are not like that at all and they have to get their inspiration from other sources. So now is the time I have to use my creativity and think where I could get my ideas from. I also need to study 'How To' books to see how I can weave my ideas into a decent story structure.

So ... where can I look for inspiration?

  • Media stories and other interesting wordly events that may have taken place recently or are about to take place.
  • Family history, and traumatic or romantic events that may have happened. I know several family members who have had an unusual life in some respect so maybe I can base a few ideas from those.
  • The history of where I currently live. I know this town has a few old stories to tell so maybe I can weave past events into a character's life.
  • Think horror and what scares me the most. Films have been made about spiders turning into gigantic monsters. Maybe I could write a story based on a haunting.
  • The contents of my dreams, I think this is the most important one as I sometimes have very strange dreams.
I have already decided the genre of my third book so it's just a question of weaving all my ideas into a good plot. Wish me luck!

As a writer, where do you get your inspiration from?


  1. The clich√© is that you should write about what you know about. I find my best writing comes when I write about what I care about. I finished my fifth novel in January 2011 and sat around for a year trying to think what I might like to write about next. I felt pressured because I see a lot of writers online who move seamlessly from book to book but these are mostly storytellers which I’m not. My books tell stories but that’s not what interests me. So I sat around for a few months and basically took notice of where I found my mind wandering. It turns out that was memory, specifically the inability to remember, that was preoccupying me and so, once I realised this, I started actively thinking about memory loss but I had no real context in which to explore the subject and it took me a year before I got an idea that I thought could work, an old man taking one last walk around his home town leading him to face his past but not necessarily in a chronological order because I don’t know about you but I don’t remember chronologically so why should I write that way. I wrote a few hundred words and lost interest in the setting but the theme of memory loss had got a grip of me by then. Then one night, just as I got into bed, I suddenly got an idea that might work and I’ve written 4000 words so far and think it’s worth pursuing. I’m a slow writer—I know full well that I’ll be working on this book for three or four years—and so you can understand my hesitance in jumping into something too soon because once an idea has a hold of me it’s very hard for me to let it beat me.

    It’s a bad idea to compare yourself to others. I believe that a writer is a person whose natural response to life is to write about it but what’s natural for me is not going to be natural for you. Some people can get by just fine on three or four hours sleep a night; I wake up knackered after eight or nine. So I have to factor that into my life. I don’t need to physically write every day but I do think about writing every single day so when I sit down to write I have a lot to draw on which is, perhaps, why I don’t go through draft after draft like some authors do. Suffice to say now I’m aware of how important the gestation period is I’m not in nearly as much of a rush to do the actual writing.

    My advice to you, for what it’s worth, is to wait until the need to write is just about killing you and then make a start. Who knows what you will have stored up in the interim. I didn’t write a thing for three years before I sat down and wrote that first novel—I was a poet before that remember—and it just poured out of me.

  2. In my household, the cook will throw a spaghetti noddle against the wall to see if sticks. If it sticks to the wall, it is ready. Lose a lot of noodles this way but the result are some really good ones.

    My writing is much the same. I observe something or overhear something and then write a short story or a few paragraphs about it. I overheard a young woman talking with a friend about her date last night. I didn't hear all the conversation, but I did hear her say, "Lord he was gorgeous." So I wrote a few paragraphs using this line as a beginning point. I liked it, so I had to name the girl and find out why she was there. The guy had to have a name and explanation. Before I knew it, I had a 70,000 word story. (see at www.charleyandthecoach.")

    I do this a lot. Basically I am cooking stories instead of noodles. I let them cook for a while and then try them out to see if there is more potential. On my web site there are six try out stories, one of which will probably be my next novel. (www.shelbyjacobsnovels) All started from a small seed and most are destined to remain so. But one story will stick on the wall and that's the one I want to write about.
    I suspect a lot of writers want to know the storyline, the characters, the conflicts, the twist and turns, the ending and most of the details before they write. Some do that well, I don't.
    Make you a deal. See what you can do with this situation:
    "A young average looking man sits down for a meal. As he is looking over his choices, he notices an average looking young woman eating by herself."
    If you will agree to write a 700 to 1,000 story I will as well and we can compare notes. Contact me through Linkedin or at

  3. Hi Jim,

    I certainly agree with you on writing what you love, and also write what you read.

    Some writers are fast while others are slow. I don't think it matters which category you fall into so long as you have a great book by the end of it.

    Good luck on your next project.

  4. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for commenting - you have given me a few ideas.