Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

People always ask where I get my story ideas. It’s a complicated question…and yet it isn’t. Because they never come from any one place. Sometimes an article I read on the internet will get the wheels turning. Sometimes an overheard conversation sparks something. And sometimes it’s a picture.

A picture like this one.Lane 10

My son went snow tubing with friends a few months ago. When he came back, he had several pictures. This was one of them. I chuckled and told him his facial expression was a little creepy. But as I looked closer, I caught a little flash of red just behind him. A small marker that said Lane 10. That was it. The idea and title for a new book. A thriller. One where something terrible happens on Lane 10.

Right now that’s all it is. The smallest kernel of an idea. But once I get a chance, I plan to explore it just a little more. And hopefully, one day, that photo will give birth to a brand new book–painting not just a thousand words, but tens of thousands of words.

And there you have it. Short and sweet. I would love to hear your thoughts! If you’re an author, do you have an interesting story about where you got one of your ideas? If you’re a reader, have you ever read a book and wondered how on earth the writer came up with the plot?

Speaking of stories, I have a new medical coming out in July. Midwives on call UKPart of the fabulous Midwives on Call continuity. Since I love all things Australia, I was thrilled to be included in the series!

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14 thoughts on “A Picture Paints a Thousand Words”

    1. Most of mine do too, Avril. But every once in a while they come from other places. Sometimes, the first line of a book will just pop into my head out of nowhere, and I’ll built a whole story around it. I just have a strange process. 😉

  1. I’m intrigued already Tina!

    Many of my ideas for books come from first meetings – where and how the hero and heroine first meet, or something they might say to each other. My second book (Doctor on her Doorstep) was very aptly named – practically the only thing I didn’t change in the course of writing was that first doorstep meeting 🙂

    1. Oh yes! I love first meetings. They can take so many different forms, and it’s fun to play with them. Maybe that’s why writing the beginning of a book is always my favorite part.

  2. Tina,
    Let me know when you have that thriller out for sale. Sounds interesting. I often see something that makes me say “What if?” then I’m off with a story. That second of spark is exciting.

  3. Tine, I love it when an idea just pops into my head like has happened to you. I can never wait to get the story down on paper (or rather screen!) Snippets of conversation, newspaper articles or photos have all inspired books for me in the past. I think writers are basically nosy people and can’t stop themselves wondering “what if . . . ” Good luck with the thriller.
    Jennifer.

  4. Oh those moments when the germ of a story idea just pop into my head are gold! But have also written books when a title or a song has come into my head. Or sometimes an entire scene so clear enters my head I just have to write it down because it will never be as perfect as it is in those first moments!

    1. It’s wonderful when that happens, isn’t it, Amy? Much better than when I have to scramble around trying to generate something from nothing. Maybe it’s just the inspiration and excitement that those first few moments of discovery bring. Maybe the story idea just resonates with me somehow. Whatever the reason, I love it!

  5. Isn’t it wonderful when something sends that spark into our brains? The problem is, there’s not enough time to write all the stories! 🙂 Years ago, one of my sons said something at the dinner table that made me laugh, it was such an odd, cute thought. Then I found the idea lodged in the back of my brain and wouldn’t leave. About ten years after that moment, I decided I had to write the book. It never sold, though, so one of these days, I’m going to revise it and maybe write a second story to go with it and self-publish it, just for fun. If only there were more hours in the day!

    1. It really is great when an idea appears as if by magic. I’ve always wondered what it was in our brains that made certain things stick while other thoughts are discarded. I hope you do publish that book, Robin!

      And right about now, with a deadline a little over a month away, I’m definitely wishing for more hours in the day!

  6. My ideas are a bit random and seem to come from all sorts of things – conversations I listen in to, a news item, my family and friends. I guess it’s the same for most of us. One line of thought becomes a whole book eventually.

    1. Yep, Sue, I think that’s the way it happens. There’s an old camp song which starts off with the words “It only takes a spark, to get a fire going.” That’s how it is with ideas. One spark and whoooosh…out comes a story. I only wish the whole book popped out as easily as the initial idea. 😉

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