People often ask me what helps me create new stories. Is it an article I see in a newspaper? Sometimes, but more often than not, stories come to me thanks to the things that I am lucky enough to be able to experience.
A few months ago I was blessed to get away for a writers’ weekend with some writing buddies. Our writing destination – Las Vegas.
Las Vegas! You may wonder how conducive that could be to writing, but after a few days I came away with the proposal for a brand new romantic suspense novel that is currently sitting with my editor for consideration.
How did that happen?
Well for starters, my friends and I spent some time talking out plots and helping each other with problems we were having. It’s always good to bounce ideas off people to see if the idea is working. Then we spent time writing every day.
So now you’re thinking – You could have done that anywhere.
Well, you’re right, but the one thing about Las Vegas – or any new location – was going around and exploring since many of those places and activities generated the idea for that new romantic suspense proposal.
For example, we took a class on stripping and lap dancing! Yep, you’re reading it right. Why? Well, as I bumped my knees on the pole, my brain was busy figuring out how the heroine in the book could tempt her hero.
A spa trip yielded yet more insights on temptation while seeing all the construction going on prompted ideas of what would happen if the hero happened to be building a casino in Las Vegas.
Add all those themed casinos, it occurred to me what kind of theme was missing and what kind of casino my hero could be building.
What about the suspense you’re wondering? Research into the problems casino owners face, like prostitution, money laundering, card cheats, etc. got my mind going about what would be the action behind the romance (and no, not spilling the beans just yet on what I chose!)
Last but not least, a hike into the Red Rock Canyon provided the perfect setting for a suspenseful chase scene!
I bet you’re saying to yourself, “But what if I can’t get away to some place new?”
Well, look around at the place where you are. What kinds of things are there that you see every day but someone else might find interesting? Are there any places or events you could use in your novel? For example, an interesting local festival or landmark? Could they be the backdrop for your novel (think Fort Hancock as I did for SINS OF THE FLESH). Being intimately familiar with a locale often adds a level of authenticity that resonates with readers moreso than an exotic locale.
Let your imagination run wild! It’s your greatest gift as a writer. Maybe you’ll find like I did that you can go from a stripper 101 class to a suspense novel just by flexing your imagination.