JaLind Rossetti

The Writer’s Life, Part 2

The Quest for Ideas

Between 2021 – 2023, I completed a novel. As it turns out, that was a fairly common pandemic project! It was a lonely journey, but at the time, I didn’t know any better, plus we were all still isolating back then.

Fast forward to 2024…This time around (with the major revision of said 100,000+ word manuscript underway), I’m out there in the writers’ world, talking with other authors, joining groups, taking classes. And no matter where our conversations begin, my talks with other writers always worm their way around to this one statement: So, tell me about your story.

Without exception, I am amazed and impressed with the answers I get. And while I’m always curious why the author is writing about a certain topic, I rarely ask. That’s because, as Steven King would say (yes, the horror guy–that Steven King!):

“Writers don’t ask writers where we get our ideas. We know we don’t know.”

Sounds strange, but it’s true. The seeds of a great story start as a tiny idea or observation that germinates over days or sometimes, years. The resulting story becomes the magic all writers seek.

Here are three instances where my muse perks up and pays attention:

Places

Whenever my husband and I can, we escape to the California coast. And our favorite destination is Cambria, CA, on the central coast. One day when we were driving up or down Highway 1, I decided that area would be the perfect backdrop for a romance novel. And thus was born the location for my first book series, Midnite Magic. It’s set in a fictional town (Pellicano Bluffs), but if you look closely (Monterey Pines, pelicans, awesome sunsets), you’ll recognize the area.

Speaking of the ocean…who doesn’t love cruise ships? Endless love story possibilities abound on those floating hotels!

Media

I spotted an article a couple years ago about the growing number of mature adults involved with online gaming. Intriguing, and the last hobby I’d get involved in. But what if a woman who depended on online gaming to keep her mind sharp could no longer afford her internet connection? What if the mentor she’d fallen in love with was a 60-year old hunk who happened to be a Viet Nam veteran who was into gaming only for the money as a quick ticket out of his hometown? Rough ideas, but there’s some possibility there.

A book about Elon Musk’s gorgeous 70+-year old mother…she’s still a model. What if a woman who gave up modeling fifty years ago and is now struggling to make ends meet as caregiver for her young grandchildren, is offered a return to modeling? But the 6-figure income would require her to travel constantly. Hmmm, another possible story.

Be careful what you say, you (or your friend) might end up in my book

We enjoyed a monthlong vacation at the very end of the pandemic, and have stayed in touch with a few fellow travelers. One woman mentioned recently that the couple she and her husband travel with (we did meet him on our South African photo safari) is now pursuing a career as a stand-up comedian. Love it! And I happened to hear a woman in her 70s do a short comedy opening act for a musician last year. What would it be like to be a rookie comedian in older life? I’m very interested in those possibilities, plus a comedian would have lots of reasons to be out late at night to tumble into the night owls that inhabit my Midnite Magic series!

I met a woman a few years ago at a networking event who is a self-employed private investigator. I was looking for a more “lonely” profession for my former policeman, Book #1 love interest, and, voila, I had a contact I could interview at the local Starbucks. It turns out most P.I.s work by themselves—just what I was looking for!

Where do you get your inspiration? You don’t have to be writing a book. Maybe you have a hobby, you love landscaping or crafts, or you have a musical talent.

I’d love to share this with my readers.

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