Friday, December 17, 2010

Where Writers' Ideas Come From

Hey all,
Another Friday has rolled around and today we have a great blog by the awesome, Joe Vadalma, who gives us a look into where he gets his ideas and how he brings his characters to life.  But before we get into that, let's take a closer look at Joe.  This bio came from

I am a technical writer retired from a major computer company and am a voracious reader of all kinds of books, but especially science fiction and fantasy. I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, but have been living in a small town in upstate New York for many years. I am married with four children, ten grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. My hobbies, other than writing, are computer games and do-it-yourself projects. I have had many short stories published in internet E-zines such as The Fifth Dimension, SFF, Dark Moon Rising, Swords Edge, Aphelion, Writer's Hood, Martian Wave, and Planet Magazine.

This time around, Joe has something to say about how ideas come to him.  So join me in welcoming Joe Vadalma to my blog.


People are always asking authors where they get their ideas. In my experience this varies with each writer and each piece of writing. With me, ideas seem to come from the oddest things, usually something a little peculiar or strange that I encounter. 

For example, in my humorous fantasy The Book of Retslu, there is a scene where Dorian, the protagonist, enters a tunnel marked with the words "Dead Man's Tunnel" and a skull and crossbones. Well, I used to travel a road that went under a railroad bridge. Because it was also a curve and the road was narrowed to one lane, many head-on collisions occurred when a car entered it from each end at the same time. As a result, someone had placed graffiti in the tunnel in large bold letters, "Dead Man's Curve" with a skull and crossbones beneath it. 

That gave me an idea for a character who must travel through a tunnel marked in such a manner. I thought, Perhaps my hero is lost; maybe he was enchanted by a sorcerer to always head in the wrong direction. This thought gave me Dorian, a naive youth, who on his way to a tournament to win the hand of a princess is enchanted by evil sorcerer Mordrake to cause Dorian to always take the wrong path.

My Morgaine Series of eBooks started while listening to that old seventies hit, Dancing in the Moonlight. I pictured the scene, a moonlit clearing in the woods and odd people, Wiccans perhaps, dancing in the moonlight. I thought, what if an ordinary woman should come upon such a scene. I wanted to make it a supernatural romance, so I decided that the love interest would be an immortal sorcerer posing as a psychic, and the woman who falls in love with him would be an ordinary woman. 

Of course, there had to be a rival, which was a witch, Morgaine. Then I got to thinking, if the sorcerer was immortal, sooner or later he would have to disappear since he would not age. In another novel of the series, I had him go missing. His love, of course, hired a private investigator to find him. In another novel in the series, I got to wondering how Morgaine became a witch. I also saw a picture of little men attending a university of magic. I had Morgaine step into that picture to learn to be a sorceress. 

In another of the series, I got my inspiration from The Book of Revelation in the Bible. My protagonists had to stop an impending apocalypse.  So you see, ideas can come from anywhere. All it takes is a little imagination to transfer something mundane or unusual into a scene, which in turn translates into characters (to be in the scene), background and an event. 

One thing leads to another, and soon you have story or a novel. 

I know all too well how a chance meeting or a glance at a picture can springboard into a great idea for a novel.  After all, my Easter story, Here Comes Peter came out of nowhere.  I'm STILL trying to figure how I came up with that one!  LOL

Anyway, learn more about Joe and his wonderful work by checking him out at his website, which gives information about his novels, contains a free short and serial, and also an interesting blog.

Hugs, and I'll be back on Monday with more fun and a special countdown to Christmas!
CJ England

Follow Your Dreams


Phylis said...

I like finding out how writer's come up with their stories! Thanks for the great blog!

CJ England said...


I wonder some time if we authors live in our own little world and sometimes the ideas collide with this one.

That's when the story wins out! LOL

Anonymous said...

Spectacular post! Writers can find ideas EVERYWHERE and this post proves it. Nicely said.
Message To Love
The Wild Rose Press

CJ England said...

Hey Liz,

Thanks for dropping by. And I agree. Joe nailed it. Ideas are everywhere. It's just a matter of what we do with them.

Sherry Gloag said...

Great post, sometimes it's easy to forget the world is full of ideas we just need to tune into them.
In my debut novel, The Brat, (TWRP) the characters drove everything else.
So many different dimensions for writers to wander through :-)
Happy holiday CJ and Joe

CJ England said...

Hey Sherry,

Isn't that the truth. I've got a poster in my room that says, "I live in my own little world, but it's okay, they like me there."


Another dimension is exactly right.

Unknown said...

I always like to read about how ideas come about. Strangely I blogged about "does your subconscious affect your writing" yesterday. I have no idea where my ideas come from but they come from somewhere.
Great post.

CJ England said...

Hey Sue,

I saw your blog, it's cool you saw this one.

Thanks for the commenting. I love hearing where ideas come from too.