Today I am hosting good friend and wonderful mystery author Marilyn Meredith. Murder in the Worst Degree, the tenth book in her rocky Bluff P.D. series, has just been released, and It’s my very favorite yet. So I asked her where she gets all her ideas since she writes two books a year, one for each of her two mysteries series. This is her answer:
Ideas are everywhere.
For instance, just by being observant and letting your imagination go wild, you can come up with all sorts of ideas. Watch people and wonder. Why is she in such a hurry? Is someone following her? Is that man on his cellphone really watching that man who is going into his house?
Another way to get ideas is to watch the news—or read about something happening on the Internet. Then ask yourself, what if it happened this way instead?
I’ve collected news stories for years, ones that I thought I could change around and use as a partial plot and I’ve done it many times. Of course no one would recognize them because they’ve been changed so much as I’ve worked them into a story.
Sometimes I’ve asked a police officer friend to tell me some outlandish thing that’s happened to him, or his most scary arrest, one that could’ve gone wrong. Once I asked for a funny vice story and got a lulu and yes, I did use it in a book.
I love to listen to cop friends share stories and yes, I’ve used many of them. Of course they are never exactly how it was told because I need to work it into a plot that works for my Rocky Bluff P.D. guys.
One of the easiest ways to pick up ideas is listen to what people say on their cell phones. Everyone talks so loud on them you can’t help but eavesdrop. And speaking of eavesdropping, listening to conversations in restaurants can sometimes trigger ideas too.
A new way to pick up ideas for both characters and plot is on Facebook. It is amazing what people reveal about themselves in such an open forum.
So really, the best advice I can give anyone about accumulating ideas is to pay attention to everything that is going on around you. Jot things down in a way that works for you. When plotting a new book, sort through all these gems and see what occurs to you.
Writing is fascinating—and so is gathering your ideas.
Thanks for hosting me today, Lorna.
Murder in the Worst Degree:
The body that washes up on the beach leads Detectives Milligan and Zachary on a murder investigation that includes the victim’s family members, his housekeeper, three long-time friends, and a mystery woman.
Tomorrow you can find me visiting http://www.rebeccabuckley.blogspot.com/