Saturday, 5 August 2017


I've been asked many times how I start writing a story.

Does the idea come first?

Does the character come first, then you fit the name to the personality?

What about the title? Is that the last thing you decide upon?

When you have the idea, do you plot, or not?

Do you listen to music while you're writing or do you need complete silence?

Or do you listen to certain types of music to write certain types of scenes?

The list goes on.

For me, I have a rough idea of what it's about and where I want it to end.

I don't plot, though sometimes I know I should, but I just pull up my big girl pants and buckle up for the ride.

The only things I have to have before I write a single word is the title and the mc's names. That's it. Can't even write the words chapter 1 before I have those down.

But where does the inspiration for the story come from? To be honest, it comes from anywhere. A line in a song, or a movie, or a TV show. Hell, it can even be a headline from the news. And it doesn't have to be a dramatic headline either. Something like, "Bed & Breakfast forced to close because of plans for retirement homes." So you've got a B&B owner, who may or may not be a hunky man in his early 30's who was left the place by his grandmother, squaring off against a sexy suit who just wants to make a ton of money and can't see the wood for the trees. A bit twee, maybe, but two opposing forces cause a lot of sparks.

And the internet.... it's such a huge playground now... with millions of images at our fingertips. Like these few I've found. Each pair of eyes sees something very different in the same picture.

What's the first thing that pops into your head with this guy?

Vampire? One of the undead who stalks his prey among the moonlit streets of gay Paris of the 1800's. Hiding in the shadows until the perfect moment to strike. Or perhaps toying with his victims, even turning them for companionship or love, his tortured soul never at peace.


His mom made his Halloween costume again? He'd tried to buy one but it makes her so happy. He knows his friends are gonna rag on him all night, but she does his washing so he knows who he'd rather keep on side. So he wears it, with the fake wig his sister had left over from last year when she was the Bionic Woman and heads to the party of the year. Which turns out to be the best night of his life because it's where he meets Spiderman in head to toe knitted glory, 'cause he's not the only one who loves his mom, and homemade costumes.

This next one is actually a still from one of my favourite movies, I won't tell you which one yet, although some of you probably already know. So... what about these two?

Nice married couple. Around about early 1900's maybe earlier. She's classically beautiful. Runs the household with an iron fist in a very velvety glove while he blusters around the house complaining he never gets any peace and quiet. The servants run from him of course, but look at how they're looking at each other. She knows exactly how to tame him. Seems like a fair enough assumption, if you didn't know the movie.

Well, the movie is The Ghost and Mrs Muir. She is a single mother, widowed of course, who has moved into his house. He blusters about all right like the rough sea captain he is, but she is the only who can see him. He's a ghost.

 And this one.... good looking chap, leaning against a tree in his backyard. Hmmm....

Well, he could be a landscape gardener who has been hired to totally renovate the backyard of an old cottage, bought by the most gorgeous guy he's ever seen. He discovers said guy has a love for gardening but no idea what he's doing. So he teaches him and, through their love of nature, they begin to fall for each other.


He's leaning against the tree, taking a break. Because just out of shot, is the very large hole he's been digging and beside it, is a rolled up piece of carpet with a shock of long red hair sticking out of one end.....

I may well be babbling at this stage, but it's like I said. The idea for a story can come from anywhere, so make sure, wherever you go, you take a notebook, just in case you overhear an interesting conversation between two strangers when you're in the line at the post office!

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