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Inspiration and the blank page

imageFor many would be writers the single thing that stops them setting pen to page.

As a writer of three published books, a fourth nearly finished and a fifth half finished inspiration isn’t something I’m short of, but where do the ideas come from?

Luck of course comes into it, luck and an overactive imagination. Probably the most talked about book inspiration was J K Rowland’s dream on a train journey between London and Manchester in 1990 – I wonder if she’d have ended up with a different book altogether if the journey was between Swansea and Cardiff, or Liverpool and Crewe?

For me there’s an autobiographical element –  probably 10% contain scenes that I’ve adapted from my own life. Our own lives are unique to us, our own personal page crammed full of ideas and plots. Of course much is unusable, much is repetitive rubbish that all people seem to be exposed to, but mixed within are the gems – We just need to pull them out, expand, adapt, tweak even and voila – a plot.

For example in Ideal Girl Liddy trips up Mitch in her knitting – yep, that’s happened to me, although it wasn’t a hunk like Mitch I caught – that’s a completely different story!

So I have a plot. I’ve had the plot for my sixth novel lurking around for the last six months. I have the first scene written in my head and, sitting on a beach over the weekend I plotted the second and third scene. I know the start, the start of the middle and the end. Once I have the plot I work on the location and, as I only write about places I’ve been that’s not difficult.

That’s book number six sorted, now book number seven is a completely different animal and is causing me problems. I have the central conflict honed to the nineth degree. All books need a conflict or they roll along on a stream of nothingness. A book where nothing happens is a boring book, just like a book with an unresolved conflict is a bad one. We’ve all watched movies that have fizzled out to an unsatisfactory conclusion. We’ve all shouted at the TV about time wasted on a pile of dross, we’ve all flung books across the room in disgust – don’t let this happen to your book. Choose a conflict and wrap a start, middle and end around it. Pick a location that, either you know or are prepared to research and then pick up your pen and join me on the journey of a lifetime.


About Jenny O’Brien

Jenny O’Brien was born in Ireland a very long time ago. She always wanted to write a book but decided to hone her life experiences first. One husband, three children and numerous cats later she finally went out and bought a notebook and pen! She now divides her time between Wales, France and Guernsey.
She writes for both children and adults with a new book coming out every six months or so.
She’s also an avid collector of cats, broken laptops, dust and happy endings – two of which you’ll always find in her scribblings! You’ll find her Amazon Author’s page here