Friday, June 4, 2010

Guest Blogger - Dorothy Howell


            When I was assigned this topic to write about this month, it made me think of the one question I – and probably all authors – are always asked: Where do you get your story ideas?
It’s a legitimate question.  I believe that everyone, regardless of their calling in life, is interested in the creative process. 
I’ve often wondered where song writers get their ideas.  Do they hear a tune playing in their head?  Do they draw from a painful or happy life experience?
How about sculptors and painters?  What moves them to conceive, then create a work of art?
My story ideas have come to me in many different ways.  Before writing the Haley Randolph mystery series, I wrote historical romance novels.  Each book was a stand alone, requiring different characters for every novel.  Unlike a series, there was nothing to build on.  Every novel grew from nothing but a small idea.
I got the idea for THE LAST BRIDE IN TEXAS when I served as an adult tutor in a Los Angeles literacy program.  THE HEART OF A HERO came to me waking up from a nap and with the vision of a rugged cowboy wearing a pink apron in my mind.  The idea for MAGGIE AND THE LAW came from my interest in archeology. 

Of course, coming up with the idea for a book is only the beginning of the writing process.  The hard part is developing that idea into a fully fleshed out story with the right setting, internal and external conflict, likeable characters, villains, and a story arc that will keep readers interested for 300-plus pages. 
I got the idea HANDBAGS AND HOMICIDE, my first mystery, from my daughter, a college student working part-time in a department store.  Writing a series is more of a challenge because every story contains many of the same characters, yet must be fresh and different. 
So, can a picture bring a mystery idea to life?  Definitely! 
Everything starts with an idea.  Where do you get the ideas for the things that are important in your life?

Happy Reading!
Dorothy Howell Novels at

1 comment:

  1. What you say makes perfect sense to me. Quite a few of my crochet/knit ideas come from pictures I've seen and feel the need to change. I've added Handbags and Homicide to my list of books I must get.


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