Monday, April 2, 2012

Where Plot Ideas Hatch From by R.J.Hore

Readers often wonder where writers get their inspirations from. When I create a short story, especially in the case of a targeted anthology, I am attempting to work up a project that fits into a specific theme. With my longer work, like a novel or novella, almost anything can trigger an idea for a plot. For example:

The Dark Lady, just recently published, came about after I was watching something on TV and noticed the head and shoulders image of an actress. My immediate thought was: "There is someone who could easily play the part of an evil queen. That triggered questions: how do evil queens get their bad reputations, followed by, how would I go about showing that? It happened that I had recently day-dreamed up a setting that I didn't have a plot idea for. I pictured the mouldering remnant of an ancient High Kingdom, surrounded by enemies, and centred around a castle built in the middle of a lake. I now had my hint of a plot and a setting. From that came The Dark Lady, the story of a young princess whose parents are murdered and who finds herself surrounded by three grasping uncles and envious neighbouring kingdoms. The next question then is, does she become evil to survive, or just gains a bad reputation, or both?

My next forthcoming tale is The Housetrap. This came about because I decided to write a fantasy detective series with a lighter theme. I would look at famous murder or thriller titles, mangle them, and then try to create a plot that fit the revised title with no connection at all to the plot of the original. One of the longest running murder mystery plays is The Mousetrap, by Agatha Christie. I created The Housetrap, filled it with fantasy characters, and went off on a steep tangent. I had so much fun I wrote three more along similar veins. It doesn't take much to amuse me.

Plot ideas can drop out of newspaper headlines. They can be triggered by a news story on TV or something viewed out the livingroom window. All you need is imagination. I don't believe I will ever have a problem finding something to write about; my problem will be finding the time to set most of them down. If you want to find out which of my tales will be available, and when, go to my website


Big Mike said...

Like they say, careful what ya say to a writer cause it'll end up in a book. I bet half my characters and stories are drew from everyday life.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year, (2008 and 2009)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Very true. I'm always taking notes and what iffing -- if only in my head.

Allison Knight said...

I love the 'what if' questions. And I agree. Seeing a person, in person or on TV, even on the 'net' can start an idea spinning.

Linda Rettstatt said...

I once outlined an entire plot in a hotel coffee shop based upon observing two people at opposite ends of the lobby on cell phones. I just filled in the blanks. Such fun.