Saturday, October 26, 2013

What's the Big Idea?

I've been asked several times, recently, how I get ideas for my books. The sources of my inspiration are many and diverse. Sometimes a particular place that I visit sparks an idea. Other times, it can be as simple as seeing an interesting individual walking down the street, who then becomes a character in a story.

With surprising frequency, I get ideas from my dreams. I'll wake up in the morning and hurry to write down the vivid setting or scene which I have just experienced. These nuggets of inspiration are particularly powerful, since I have been immersed in them as a participant...inside the story, so to speak.

That is how I came to develop my epic fantasy, The Song of Sehdra Mor. I popped awake one morning, having dreamed myself as one of the main characters, Katari, facing her initiation as a shaman. It was such a striking experience, I just had to write it down. One thing led to another, and I found myself with a full length novel.

With my latest book, New Sion, the process was quite different. I came to the idea through an article in the newspaper. It related the challenges facing women in certain middle-eastern countries, where gender-based laws are particularly strict. One new law even specified punishment for any wife who didn't adequately "satisfy" her husband's needs. These same women couldn't own property, couldn't choose freely what clothes to wear...and so many more restrictions, my mind was whirling.

I began to consider what a strong-willed, intelligent woman might do in such a culture. How far might she go, to live a life of freedom and choice? Would she be willing to cut her hair and dress as a man? What if this culture was in the far future, on a colony planet of earth?

The questions kept rolling through my brain, and a new novel was born. This is the most fun I've had yet with creating a unique world and in-depth characters. I would have never guessed, when I read that article, just how far it would launch me.

Diana Green

Diana Green Books
Worlds of Imagination, Adventure, and Romance


Big Mike said...

Yeah, me too. My stories BLIND CONSENT, BROK HON, FINAL SOLUTION, and FORGOTTEN CHILDREN all burgeoned from my dreams.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Diana Green said...

That is so interesting. I wonder if creative people, authors, artists, etc. have more vivid dreams somehow, or if we remember them more clearly.

My husband is always amazed when I describe my wild, colorful, fantastical dreams in the morning. Not that I don't have my, "back in high school with a math test looming" dreams as well.

Nikki said...

Dreams sometimes supply me with a scene, but just as often it's a phrase or a bit of dialogue. "I'll be the one making the most noise," "the shoe on the stair," "chicken bones," "playing with light." I've been toying with "chicken diapers," but my husband says that should be the name of a rock band.

Liz Fountain said...

My book An Alien's Guide started with a dream I had of a central scene. But Diana - you have the "high school math test" dreams too?? How do we stop those?? Now there's a sci fi novel - a band of rogue scientists trying to stop high school math test dreams inadvertently creates something worse. And Nikki - "Chicken Diapers" is definitely a good name for a punk band!