Welcome to the official blog of Maumee Valley Romance Writers of America! We're a local writers' group in the Toledo, Ohio area. Most of us write romance, but we also have members who write other genres too. New members are always welcome to visit or join the group. See the meetings page for details. We post every Monday and Friday about all things book-related. Whether you're a writer, reader, or both, we hope you'll stop by often and get to know our dozen contributors.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fresh Spin

Unlike many of my writer friends, I do not carry around jillions of story ideas in my head, each one begging to be written. I have to ponder and dream and wonder and borrow and—okay—even steal ideas from books, TV shows, movies, songs. Note that I said ideas. I’m not into absconding with line-by-line dialogue, twist-by-twist plotlines, memorable character tics or word-for-word lyrics. After all, I have some decency, and pride, even when desperate for new material!

But I do take inspiration from the creative work of others. Many stories are “just” different takes on the same (old) idea. Like Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story. Written centuries apart, they’re both about a boy and girl who fall in love despite their feuding families.

As a singer, I know the impact of taking an existing song, changing the tempo or adding distinctive licks to make it sound completely new. By now, I think almost everybody knows that Whitney Houston’s record-smashing version of the song, I Will Always Love You, from The Bodyguard was originally written and recorded by Dolly Parton. In the video below, you can hear John Doe singing the country version in the background of the movie during the dance scene between Houston’s and Kevin Costner’s characters. (If time is limited, skip ahead to 4:30 in the embedded video.) Wow, what a difference a different take makes!

And that’s why I’m not too worried about the ideas not tumbling around in my brain. Because I know they’re tumbling around in someone else’s—awaiting my fresh spin.

What about you? Does your brain overflow with new ideas all the time? Or do you get inspiration from others? Or both?

PM Kavanaugh writes character-driven thrillers spiked with romance. Her debut novel, DIE RUN HIDE, a Daphne finalist, has just been contracted by Crimson Romance. She blogs regularly for MVRWA and can be found at pmkavanaugh.com, on Facebook and Twitter.


Kristina Knight said...

I get ideas from songs, articles in the paper, magazines...it depends. And those ideas come up all the time. Usually I can quiet the voices - a little - by writing down notes about potential stories. I go with the theory that if a character/characters are *still* talking a couple weeks after that initial idea, there may be something there.

Constance Phillips said...

Like Kristina, the littlest of things can kick off a story idea. I take notes and file them a way. I've two stories I've wanted to write for a long time that are not-so-patiently waiting their turn.

Great post, PM.

Jenna Rutland said...

I seem to go in spurts. Just when I think my creative brain has dried up, something sparks and I end up with more ideas. Hopefully that continues!

Em-Musing said...

I get ideas all the time...problem is I don't have time to flesh them all out. I have many files, each with a few pages of an idea in them, and nothing else.

JDuncan said...

I get ideas all the time, from books, movies, tv, the news, and so on. Tracy and I bounce things off one another all the time. Something will come up and we'll be like, "Oh, that'd be a great plot idea", or "there's a great conflict for a heroine." We don't always write them down, but there's always ideas floating around here. I can only work on 2 or 3 at a given time though. I tend to get to one-tracked when I get on something I like.