I will be completely honest with you here: the last four books have somewhat come from the confines of my brain. They are the stories that have been living inside me for the last 26 (almost 27) years that have finally been put into words. You want to know why this terrifies me?
What happens when those ideas stop?
That question actually popped up after figuring out the ending to my first book. I thought that was it because I had planned for that to be my second book. I was out of things to write about. My writing career started and ended with 100K words.
Then NaNo came along. I figured I could write a sequel. I was going to be a ‘pantser’ and just let my characters dictate the direction of the story. If I kept my head to the keyboard, I’d eventually find a plot… maybe?
Well, I did. It might have been luck that suddenly one morning I shot out of bed (launching the cats out of their sleep and off the bed) with a storyline. I figured out the conflict and I knew what would happen later.
Then came the empty page for book three. Here’s all I had: a title, a character name, and a small town without a name (it actually remains unnamed throughout the entire book). The more I focused on what things my character would want (after I worked out building her personality), I took all of that away by using the small town against her. Literally everything worked against her. I put her through a damn tornado.
A story eventually brewed.
Then comes the last task: a fourth book with the intention of world building. I had done the experimental writing, getting my voice and establishing my habits, and now I wanted a greater challenge. Make this work, make that work, put in a second moon, make the sands black, make this character have green hair (I have decided all of my characters will forever have some different hair color because that’s awesome to me), give her a cat, better yet give her a cat with wings and a poisonous bite… the list goes on.
Just get to the point already.
So where do I get my ideas? Despite this one having a basic (and I mean BASIC) framework when I first started, I took to Pinterest to find the rest of my characters and traits. I started with pictures of green hair, then I found a forest, then I found meanings behind names and changed all of my character names to mean something super secretive… this list goes on too.
I let myself fall into the rabbit hole of Pinterest. You know, like when you look up one article on Wikipedia and three hours later are looking at some article you never would have discovered without clicking random link after random link? Do it. See where you get. Create a story behind the pins you see. If that doesn’t spark anything, keep going. Give yourself time and really have fun with it. Follow links you never thought you’d click on (okay, not the spam ones but you know what I mean).
Dive into the pits of Pinterest and come up with something spectacular.