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Where do ideas come from?
Can I let you into a secret?
Promise not to tell anyone?
No writer has ever had an idea, let alone an original idea. Ever.
Alright, maybe I’m being a bit facetious…but not that facetious. At the end of the day there are very few basic ideas—most stories have similar elements. Many, many stories start with “a bad thing” happening. The protagonist then struggles with the consequences of that bad thing until eventually she finds some kind of resolution.
What differentiates one story from another is not the basic idea.
The differences come from the characters and how the stories are told.
Take five different writers, give them the same idea, and tell them to write a story and those five writers will give you at least thirty-eight different stories—just from that one idea.
So for me, an idea isn’t so much about a plot to steal the biggest diamond in the world. Instead, I’m more interested in the human aspect and in particular, what happens to people in adversity. So, to stay with the notion of a diamond theft, I’m interested in the story of the guy who is charged with guarding the diamond and how he reacts after the theft. I’m interested in the woman who is coerced to steal the diamond and why committing a crime is a better option for her.
It’s a small shift but a subtle shift. But it’s also a shift from a newspaper headline to a story. Headlines are great—and they grab our interest—but I’m in the business of telling stories and stories have a depth beyond the hook line. Plus a headline isn’t enough to sustain an 80,000 or 100,000 word book.
I guess your next question is where do those story kernels come from? And again I repeat that no writer has ever had an idea. I just pay attention to the what’s happening—whether that be watching the news or if I’m out—and when I see anything I ask myself about the situation and think about the people involved. And that’s really the key for me—I’m curious about people.
Then if something piques my interest, I write it down—quickly.
I put all my notes into Microsoft OneNote. It’s a great tool which is accessible anywhere and everywhere—on the desktop (for Windows and Mac), on phones (iOS, Windows, and Android), and on tablets. Perhaps more significantly than being available anywhere, OneNote has been supported by Microsoft for years (at the time of writing it’s been around for 13 years)—this gives me some confidence that notes I make today will be available tomorrow.
Having made my notes, from time to time I review them. Some I throw away, some I improve, and some grab me so tightly that they just have to be my next novel.
Leathan soon tires of her spending habits, her selfie obsession, and her social media preoccupation as his ward drags him from shop to boutique to jeweler, approaching each with the self-possession that comes from a lifetime of getting her own way and never once having to worry about money.
But when Clementina snaps her fingers and her boyfriend doesn’t come running, something is up. He doesn’t appear because he’s been murdered.
When Leathan investigates, he finds that the boyfriend has no background and met Clementina through a connection made by daddy’s business partner.
Daddy’s business partner who has been slowly and progressively putting daddy in a vice, grabbing more of the business, and who is now menacing Clementina directly to manipulate daddy.
Enjoy an excerpt:
Johnson McElroy and Orville Michael Mallet seemed pleased to have fixed a problem. A problem where I was having trouble understanding what really made it a problem.
The two men—one groomed to look like a logical and rational arguing machine; the other determined to display his individual creativity, which looked exactly the same as everyone else’s individual creativity—shook my hand at the door.
“You know the way out,” I said, as if I had a clue. I only knew how to enter and leave if I was driven by Reece.
The two headed for the elevator and I made my way through the cavernous entrance hall back to the open living space and the kitchen area. The kitchen area, which had more floor space than most apartments I had lived in.
“I should have a word with Clementina,” I said to Angeline Bautista, the housekeeper who had remained invisible while the two company men had been present.
“She’s gone out,” said the housekeeper.
“While you talked.”
“What did Reece say?”
She looked confused.
“Reece—the driver. What did he say?”
The confusion remained. “Nothing.”
“But he must have said something when he came up.”
“He didn’t come up,” she said.
“She went to him?” I could feel the hesitation in my speech as my brain tried to catch up with the situation and make sure my language was unambiguous for the non-native English speaker.
“No. She went out on her own,” said Angeline.
“While you talked,” she said with greater emphasis.
“How long ago?”
She tilted her head from side to side. “Ten minutes?” she said. More a question than a statement.
I pulled out my phone and called Reece. “Does Clementina go out on her own?”
“Nope,” said Reece. “Daddy says no.”
“Well, she has.”
Reece swore under his breath. “I’ll be up.”
About the Author:
In addition to his fiction, Simon has written a range of music-related and business-related books, and has also worked as a ghostwriter.
Before turning full-time to writing, Simon spent nearly two decades as a management consultant, where his clients included aeronautical, pharmaceutical, defense, financial services, chemical, entertainment, and broadcasting companies.
He lives in London.
The book will be free on Amazon from July 25-29.
Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
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