I posted a while ago how odd I find it that people assume if you’re writing romance, particularly the steamy kind, you take ideas from your own life. Or rather, that you do everything you write about.
This came up again the other day. I was having lunch with some friends and one of them asked what I write.
I told her “I write erotic romance.”
So she asked, “what like Fifty Shades of Grey?”
To which I replied, “not exactly, no. But it is romance yes, and it does have erotic elements to it.”
Then I waited, and sure enough the question came.
“So where do you get your ideas from?”
“All sorts of places.” I replied, and at this point I started to become a little bit hot under the collar. Not because I am embarrassed about what I write, I’d feel the same if I wrote sweet as sweet romance, or thrillers. No, I just don’t like being questioned about a process I don’t understand myself some days, by a group of people all hanging on my every word.
So where do I get my ideas from? It’s not something I’ve thought about in depth. Oh sure, the overall arc or plot for a book? That’s usually easy to answer. My latest wip about a soldier with PTSD meeting a civilian with PTSD came about due to a show I watched about the Royal Marines. But scene ideas? I’m not all that sure.
You see, I am a total panster. I do set out a plan for the plot when I first start working on a book. I also refine the main characters. I might write a fair few scenes (often dialogue) to get a feel for the characters that often never make it into the book. Once I get writing though? Then the characters tend to take over. I often end up with a rather different story than the one I first planned out, all because these guys take on a life of their own. They talk to me. They wake me up at night out of a deep sleep, telling me what their fears, or dreams or hopes are, so that I have to scrabble around for the light switch and a pen to write it all down before I fall back into dream land.
They talk to me a lot when I am in the bath. Or watching something on TV that doesn’t hold my interest. Or making the tea.
How though, I get these ideas, the actual process that makes them form? It’s not that easy to describe, it’s nebulous. At best I can only relate it to daydreaming.
So yeah. I have naughty, erotic daydreams featuring hot guys, with a load of angst thrown in…and then I write them down. As far as process goes that’s about as much as I can say.
Of course, I then re-write and re-write, and edit and share with crit partners. Those elements of the writing process are things I can easily quantify, solid, measurable…describable. The ideas part though? It’s not so easy to pin down, and part of me really doesn’t want to, in case it goes away. Superstitious maybe, but it’s how I feel.
How about you? Can you say easily where your ideas come from?