Monday, September 24, 2012

Where Do Story Ideas Originate?

Buy A Hard Day's Knight HERE!

by Cate Masters 
I love this question. Every author has a different answer. Why? Because the answer is as varied as the millions of stories already out there.

For me, and I suspect most authors, stories grow out of the things that interest me. I tend to take an interest in a wide variety of subjects, as you can probably tell by the range of genres I write in – from contemporary to historical, fantasy/paranormal to speculative, sweet to red hot, mainstream to women’s fiction and romance.

In fact, any photo, conversation I hear in passing, newspaper article, or whatever I happen across can make me stop and think, “Hmm. What if…” And I jot it in my notebook for later exploration.

The one thing I never do is write about friends, family or even acquaintances. You may have seen the tee shirt (which I’ve been tempted to buy just to alarm people, lol) – “Careful or I’ll make you part of my next novel.” I may borrow a name, at most a personality trait or quirk, but I don’t use my writing for ill will. I believe in karma, baby!

One of my crit partners sometimes asks if she can rub my head to see if my wild imagination will rub off on her. (She doesn’t need it; she’s a fantastic writer.)

So, my answer to the old question of where stories originate is: an inquisitive, open mind. Just scan through the many titles of the 1NS series and you’ll see what I mean. I’m always inspired by the way each author took the dating service premise and made it unique, her own take on 1NS.

I have to admit, it’s a bit addicting. I have two 1NS stories out now – A Hard Day’s Knight, a fantasy, and Tonight You Belong to Me, a contemporary. A third is in the works. I can’t wait to polish it up and submit it. Decadent’s been so wonderfully supportive of all their authors, and fantastic to work with.

I’ll leave you with a sampling of A Hard Day’s Knight, my fantasy 1NS. Growing up, I loved reading about King Arthur in The Once and Future King, and was obsessed with the Beatles. This story mixes a little Camelot with present day:

She’d rocked him, body and soul. Possessed him so that he’d forfeited his honor. The stolen nights they’d shared haunted him, and he feared she’d returned to torture him again, ever out of reach. Trying to reconcile the vision in his head with the one approaching, he licked his dry lips.

The woman who haunted him was not the one who walked toward him.
Yet they were one and the same, he’d swear an oath.

Hands full with three tall glasses of beer, Darien returned and scooted next to Kurt. “Did you tell him?”

Kurt mumbled something and slurped.

“Lighten up, Lance, you look like you’ve seen a ghost.” Darien’s muted squeal heightened his attention. “Oo, here she comes.”

One of the three? Dread formed a cold pit in Lance’s stomach and he took the fresh mug of beer, tempted to apply its “lite” description to all of present day. With his luck, she’d be the raven-haired girl with the overbite. He detested women with dark hair. Brought back too many bad memories.

“Gwyn!” Standing, Darien waved.

The blonde waved back. Excitement coiled in Lance’s chest. He distantly registered Darien leaning against his arm, whispering something, and Kurt adding a comment and a guffaw. But the light glinting against her golden locks gave her an angelic appearance. He imagined his fingers working the laces along the front of her bodice, unfastening them, letting the full green skirt pool around her ankles to reveal that creamy silken skin he’d so missed. Craved.
Hitching up her gown, she glided toward them like a swan across a lake. When she fixed her green eyes on him, he scrambled to his feet, dumbfounded as a peasant before a princess.

Cate Masters  - Magic, mayhem and a little romance


  1. It is a question authors get asked a lot, isn't it! I suspect we all have more or less the same answer. One of the things I hate to lose is my imagination, it saved me as child and I still cling to it as an adult. And King Arthur and the Beatles - what a brilliant combination!!!

  2. I love that we all have our own methods of inspiration, Barb. And yep, loved Lancelot and the Beatles! :)