To obtain grist for your mill, you might want to start by looking around you.
Rob the Cradle – Many famous writers, such as Tolstoy, Dickens and Mark Twain, have borrowed from their childhood.
Rob the Grave – Our ancestors have stories they’ve passed down through generations. If one of these thrillers grabs your attention, go ask Grandma ─ she may have the facts you need.
Draw on Life Experiences – During our lifetime we encounter situations that can be shared, elaborated on and fictionalized.
Beg, Borrow or Steal from Acquaintances – Often you can generate a basic theme for your book by just paying attention to the things you learn in the world around you.
For example, Listening to the Corn Grow,(a women’s saga) evolved from a true and heart-wrenching tale told to me in about ten sentences by a friend. It happened with two women and their families, farming in Central California during the forty’s. Ten years later I was driving along a remote stretch of highway. Topping a hill, I saw fields of corn stretching out to meet the horizon. Mid-summer bright green stalks with golden tassels reaching heights of six feet or more as they faded into the distance.
The words came to mind, (perhaps directed by my muse), “…listening to the corn grow.” I recalled the cliché that originated in the heartland of our country, “It was so quiet you could hear the corn grow.” My Muse took this and ran with it. Characters came to life amidst the corn fields of Nebraska and developed into a 98,000 word Family Saga - all from a tiny glimpse of a real-life event.