Girls Write Out
Tuesday, April 02, 2013


I love it when it's time to think up a new idea. I know it can be challenging for some but I have a system I'd like to share with you. Some authors search for a new character or inciting incident first. That can be a fun way to come up with a story idea, but I go about it a little differently. I pick the SETTING first. Figuring out the WHERE can be a great jumping off place for several different reasons.

1. Characters are different based on where they live. A protagonist in California is different from one in Indiana. Michigan characters are different from those in Texas. The culture that goes into creating them are very diverse. So I start by picking an area. Then I read the history of that area. 

2. Area newspapers and magazine articles can springboard the plot idea. Rosemary Cottage will ship in June. The idea came about after reading an article about a swimmer struck by a boat. I got to wondering what would happen if the death wasn't an accident. Lots of fertile ideas and themes sprang from that. 

3. The setting has to set the atmosphere for me too. I tend to choose small town or remote areas where I can ramp up the suspense and sense of isolation. You may choose a city for a reason that suits your story. 

So here's what I want you to do. Go read about Missoula on Wikipedia.,_Montana Read the history, the current challenges facing the area, the entire thing. Jot down 3 possible ideas based on what you read there and let me know what you come up with.

What are some strategies you use to come up with a new story idea?

Colleen Coble  
posted at 2:22 AM  
  Comments (3)
Delicious Delicious
At 1:22 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

That's a good idea. I'm troubling with setting right now, trying to write Philadelphia. It's a place that would stifle me, and so it's stifling my character. LOL

At 6:46 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

I bet it would be stifling to you too. LOL

At 2:43 PM, Blogger Jaime Wright said...

Can I just say Missoula is like one of my favorite spots in the WORLD??? I've fly fished the Clark Fork river. Beautiful. Thought up a THOUSAND (ok maybe 5) story ideas while floating down that river. Mmm, mmm, mmm...

My favorite ...

City boy meets female competitive fisherwoman and hooks fly.


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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