The Challenge of a New Idea

I never thought I’d start as sentence like this, but here goes. As an author, I’m constantly looking for new ideas and plot possibilities. What used to be a simple shopping trip has turned into a people watching activity. Have you ever actually looked at people’s faces? Examined the way they walked? Considered their body language? Some are bored, others have a dreamy look on their faces, and every now and then, you come across someone for whom the adage “if looks could kill” works. These are the people who interest me the most. Why are they so angry? Who is the target of their anger? Will they give in to their anger, or will they bottle it up inside? Villains are born from those faces.

Every good story needs a strong plot, but it also needs characters the reader can identify with, and a theme that is universal. I recently read a manuscript for one of Front Porch Romance’s authors that dealt with philosophical and metaphysical questions–not the usual fare for a romance novel, but in Rendezvous with Hymera, Melinda De Ross  made it work. The questions were woven through what, at first, appeared to be a ghost story. Everyone, whether they want to admit it or not, has questions about the afterlife–do any of us truly want to believe that this is all there is to our existence? Posing the questions and answering them in a way that you don’t offend someone’s belief system is truly a gift.

My novels don’t touch on such deep issues, but each of them is based on a common theme–the need for truth and trust in relationships. In each of my novels, the main characters have problems because of dishonesty and distrust. There can be no long lasting love without faith, and jealousy and possessiveness are signs of obsession not love.

As I begin to write a new suspense story, I see these same common themes arising. You’ll have to wait to hear more about LIE DOWN WITH DOGS. I’m just starting the novel, and my muse has provided many ideas — I wonder which ones will make the book? Will it be the crabby lady I saw at the grocery store, the tattooed boy who clung to the girl as if he was afraid and didn’t dare let go of her hand, or will it be the young pregnant woman shopping for baby clothes? You’ll just have to wait and see.

 

 

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