Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Great Idea of the Month Club

by Joe Moore
“Where do you guys get your ideas?” That’s the second most frequently asked question that Lynn Sholes and I are asked at book signings, conferences and in email from our readers. Our answer is that we subscribe to the Great Idea of the Month Club. In reality, ideas come at writers like angry bees swarming. It’s hard to run from them, there are so many. We’re bombarded with ideas on the news, in the paper, listening to the radio, and even from other writers’ books. I’m not suggesting plagiarism with that last item—just that one great idea usually spawns another.

Lots of times, the person who asks us the question usually follows up with something like, “I could never come up with ideas like that.” Personally, I don’t believe that. I think everyone is capable of coming up with a stone-cold, smash hit that could be turned into a bestseller. It’s the “turning into” that’s the tricky part. But ideas are as plentiful as HeadOn commercials—you just have to know when you’ve got one that’s good enough to turn into a 100,000-word manuscript.

So where do we get ideas for our Cotten Stone thrillers? Mostly from hotspotsz.com, the real-life, Great Idea Of the Month Club website. Because our books deal with the unusual, strange, out-of-the-ordinary, supernatural, and paranormal, what better place to go for ideas than the number one site for stories on Paranormal Phenomena. It’s like the National Inquirer for writers.

We’ve included subjects in our books that cover Friday the 13th, Armageddon, The Great Flood and Noah’s Ark, quantum physics, quantum computers, human cloning, The Holy Grail, the Emerald Tablet, The Spear of Destiny, Atlantis, lost cities of the Inca, the Ark of the Covenant, Cleopatra’s Needle, the Apocalypse, the Anasazi, Lenin’s Tomb, the Secret Archives at the Vatican, the cathedrals in the Kremlin, Satanism, Fallen Angels, the Nephilim, Crusader’s tombs, The Garden of Eden, The Tree of Life, Medieval puzzle cubes, and witchcraft. This place is a virtual smorgasbord of strange stuff. There are other sites, but Hot Spots is one of our favorites.

So when we give our answer to the second most frequently asked question, and it sounds flippant, there’s actually a lot of truth to it. What’s the most frequent question? How can two people write fiction together? That’s a subject for a future post.

Where do you get your ideas?


Mark Terry said...

I have the same problem, although I don't go to anywhere specific for them. I just have too many of them, and a lot of them are very, very good indeed.

I can also tell when I'm getting tired of working on the WIP--I have LOTS OF OTHER GREAT IDEAS THAT I REALLY WOULD RATHER WORK ON INSTEAD!

Mark Combes said...

I take lots and lots of notes. So if you are chatting with me and you find me scribbling something down, watch out....

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Ideas are like wire coat hangers, they just keep multiplying until they take over ... or is that rabbits?

Thanks for the tip about hotspotz. It looks like a site that could take HOURS to explore.

Most of my ideas come from random sightings of physical things, places or unusual people; some come from the off comment made by someone that blossoms with possibilities; and some from silly articles in the news (I'm still looking for a story in which to put a deep fried Twinkie.)

Mark Terry said...

Your character needs to go to Scotland.

On the other hand, the Mexican restaurant I went to last night has something called deep-fried cheesecake. The folks at the next table got it. It looked great.

Julia Buckley said...

But I do like that idea of the ideas being mailed to my house every month, Joe . . .

The question on my mind is how you and Lynn happened to start writing together in the first place!

Joe Moore said...

"The question on my mind is how you and Lynn happened to start writing together in the first place!"

Julia, it started with a threat. My next post will be a full disclosure. I promise.