Thursday, April 13, 2017

Developing Project Ideas

Sorry for the lapse in posting lately. I was out of town with my daughter on an orchestra trip.

I wanted to talk today about developing ideas for projects. I would love to hear how each of you come up with ideas as well so make sure to post some suggestions.

When I am working with my authors on projects, most of the time, I try to start working with some really broad concept of a theme or plot idea. In many cases, it starts with something such as, "What would happen if...? style questions. In other cases, I try build on a standard trope and then work on creating a unique spin to it.

Let's say I want to work with the historical trope of the hero needing to get married to get his inheritance. This is a pretty standard one. So, what if we spin this a slightly different way. Instead of our hero just finding a girl and getting married, what if there is the girl he has always been attracted to, but is not suitable for mom and dad? In this case, I play around with the same trope, but throw in a little Romeo and Juliet spin to it.

Another potential twist that works well is to build on historical events and then put it in another setting or time. Let's take, for example, the events surrounding the Great Depression. We had a ton of people who lost everything and simply had to pack it up and move to a new location. So, let's bring this to a present day situation. We have a heroine who has lost everything due to the housing crisis. Her company went bankrupt and now she is stuck with a school loan, house payment and so forth. Finding a new job is tough, so she has to now resort to a minimum wage job. From that we build the story.

As I am thinking of these, I am also thinking of what the big take away would be for the reader. What is the message I want to get across. In the first historical example, it would be something such as fighting for the one you love. The second would be the grit and determination to make it in the world despite the odds being against you.

I am working with one of my authors right now on a romantic suspense concept. In her case, I simply built it around three words she mentioned in an email - "Band of Brothers." From this, we built the concept around what would have united all of these guys who would now become the heroes in the series (sorry, can't tell you what that is yet). It was that idea, however, that became the unifying goals and motivations for the characters to not only get the girl, but to get into those nasty situations we often find those suspense characters to be in.

So, how do you figure out ideas? Let me know.

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