What to Write….Plot Ideas & Characters…

I love fiction. Paranormal, sci-fi and fantasy stories are my favorite. Stepping into another world, to experience a tale through the eyes of the protagonist will take me away even if it’s for a few hours.

Where do writers come up with their ideas? For me as a writer, it’s easy for an idea to cross my mind, but to get it down on paper is another thing. However, that’s only half the battle. What’s just as difficult is to come up with plot twists, characters, and congealing it into a story someone wants to read.

One way I find ideas is to use generators. Scifiideas.com is a great site for writers and has a brilliant generator,

http://www.scifiideas.com/story-idea-generator/

The ideas will be a sentence or two but it’s enough to nudge you in the right direction. Some of the ideas are strange and bizarre but to find something new, you need to reach out to the obscure.

Another way I get ideas is from everyday life. People watching is one of my favorite past times. It’s amazing the drama playing out right in front of you. All you have to do is be observant and listen. The stories of ordinary lives with a little twist and dark shading can be the next best seller.

Characters too. Everyone has a friend or relative that needs their story told. Even the person on the street has something lurking in the dark corners of their mind. I was sitting in Starbucks waiting for a friend and a little old man walked in. He was short, probably in his eighties using a cane. After getting a cup of coffee, he sat across from me and pulled out a tablet. His smiles and laughter were priceless as he read whatever was on the screen. I would have loved to go over and talked to him but I thought it would have been intrusive. There was a special gleam in his eyes that lit up his face. This man had a story.saipan-703463_1280 (2)

I can imagine him a sailor in WWII. Fighting on a PT boat in the South Pacific was tough and one night on patrol, he and a few others were marooned on an island. At one point the men thought all was lost. What they did to survive is to be revealed by the last survivor, the little old man.

So the next time you read a story, take a moment and think what the author had to do to get the book in your hands. You will be amazed how authors come up with their ideas.

Pink Sneakers in Space

Pink Sneakers in Space

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What do you do when your character takes over?

As a writer, I sit down in front of my laptop and tap away. I usually have a clear idea where the story is going. Most of the time, the hardest thing I have to deal with is drinking my tea before it gets cold and keeping the cat off my keyboard.

But that was before Bobby. I’m writing my second book in the Pink Sneakers series, and I plotted for Princess Ally to be the heroine. It was in the back of my mind even as I wrote book 1, Pink SBobbyneakers in Space. But sometimes things don’t turn out as you plan.

Bobby the Blobarian tromps on the scene and takes over. He is an impish boy from Nebia IV who takes my words and rearranges them.  I have no say in the matter. Bobby is determined to meet the Earthling that defeated his dad in the video game, Cyber Ice and nothing will stop him from getting a pair of pink sneakers.

I’ve talked to some of my writer friends about this phenomenon and they laughed because it has happened to them too. Even with an outline, stories still have a way of running amuck and not turning out as planned. So what do you do? Absolutely nothing. One thing I’ve learned is you can’t stop your characters once they are set in motion. I never know where they’ll lead me. It’s what makes writing so exciting and addicting. Try it sometime. You’ll be surprised not every road leads down the expected path. Sometimes you end up in Oz.

So the book is written. What now?

I have written a children’s book, ‘Pink Sneakers in Space’ and now it’s time to get someone to read it. It’s a sci-fi fantasy where a little girl travels into space to save an alien princess’s planet. A friend designed the cover and drew illustrations. The book looks great if I don’t say so myself. But what do I do next?Business card

There are so many great books out there waiting to get read but are never discovered. And there are horribly written books that become best sellers and even made into movies. Why is that? I’ll tell you why marketing. It all boils down to your fan base and reaching readers.

My book has been out for about 2 weeks and every day it sinks further down the Amazon list. It’s rather discouraging but I’ll not be defeated. I’ve watched a few webinars on how to market your book and got some good ideas. Instagram and LinkedIn are two social media tools that can be used for promoting books.

Another marketing strategy of mine is book signings at independently owned bookstores and hosting a ‘Meet the author’ at local libraries. It’s going to take a lot of work. Probably more than writing Pink Sneakers, but the reward of a child reading my book will make it all worth it.

Pink Sneakers in Space

Pink Sneakers in Space

Getting Published

Getting Published

After spending years spinning my wheels, I finally pressed the button. I guess I’m a bit like my mother. Mom was a great storyteller and loved to read. She would tap away at her computer, creating a scene or two but never made the leap to getting published.

That was me up to this week. Every Sunday for years I would join my writers’ group and sit in front of my laptop writing. It was one of these Sundays after eating a plate of fries that I knew something had to change. I needed to start smaller and wondered what I could do. Short story? Poetry? Children’s book?

That was it, a children’s book. If I wanted to get published, I needed a smaller project. So I did some research and borrowed a few children’s books from the library. It looked easy.

But I needed a story and characters. All it took was to look down at my feet and it hit me like a lightning bolt. Pink sneakers! Yes, that is it and the rest fell into place.

My inspiration

My inspiration

It only took a couple of weeks to write and edit but then I hit a brick wall. What next? Do I send out query letters and try the traditional route? Or self-publish? I decided on self-publishing and thought that would be the quickest and easiest way to get my name up on Amazon.

However it didn’t turn out so easy and now I know why writers drink. Formatting my illustrated book to Kindle’s specifications was tedious. Correcting silly mistakes were painful. Dealing with CreateSpace frustrating. But it was definitely worth it. My ebook is on Amazon and the print on demand is coming out soon. So what if ‘Pink Sneakers in Space’ is ranked 107,000. I’m a published author. Now onto the marketing and book 2.amazon_logo_500500._V323939215_http://www.lizettestrait.com/