Inspiration comes from odd places

Almost every time I’m on a writing panel, and we open it to question and answer, someone asks, “Where do you get your ideas?”  I understand that question.  I’ve sat in front of my computer screen many a time wondering what the heck I’m going to write.  Worse, when I first started writing, I grabbed onto an idea that looked wonderful until I tried to make it into a story . . . and it couldn’t hold up to twenty, sixty, or three hundred pages.

The good news is, the longer you write, the more ideas you have and the more tricks you learn to weed the good ideas from the flash fiction variety.  Now, if I can’t think of a good set-up, three key turning points, and an ending, I know I’d better write something really short.  For the YA novel I’m posting, chapter by chapter, on my webpage, though, I knew I had a large enough cast of characters and a big enough concept to make a book.

When I was younger and hungry to dig deeper into beliefs and mythology, I took a Bible study class on Judas Iscariot.  The minister insisted that Judas never meant to betray Jesus. He only wanted to push Him into proving to the world that He was the Savior, that He had powers the rest of us didn’t and never will have.  According to our study book, Judas had Jesus arrested, sure that He’d pull out His powers and pizzazz the Roman soldiers to save Himself.  And when Jesus didn’t save Himself and let the soldiers crucify Him, Judas couldn’t live with his mistake, threw away his thirty pieces of silver, and hanged himself.

I’m not knowledgeable enough to know if I agree with that theory or not, but it did make me think.  And it gave me an idea for a story.  I read another article (because I’m a horoscope fan), that each disciple Jesus chose stood for a different horoscope sign.  Twelve signs, twelve disciples.  And that made me think of a coven.  Twelve witches led by one priestess.  What if each witch came from one sign of the zodiac?  And what if the priestess practiced only white magic, but a witch she’d started to train was more tempted by dark spells and turned the town against her?  Until finally, one of the “good” witches decided to force the priestess into proving herself.  And…  Well, one idea led to another, and soon I had enough plot points to write a book.

The ideas for the book came from a few random, different articles, but they came together to give me a solid plot after I asked myself a few “what ifs?” along the way.  What ifs, cause and effect–if my character does this, this will happen–, and characters’ motivations can tease your mind into filling in the blanks between story spaces.  Enjoy the process!  And happy writing.

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