Thursday, August 5, 2010


As I tell people, I've been writing since the dark ages. Those were the times of typewriters and carbon paper for copies. I've often been asked where I get my ideas. It's all in the imagination. As a child, I drove my parents, grandparents and just about everyone crazy with a question. "What if." My mind would take a simple situation like, and remember I was a child during WWII. What if the Germans come? My mind didn't stop there but I created a dozen different scenarios. My friends loved these little stories and I'm afraid we took them to heart, learning Morse Code and planting traps in the woods.

"What if? I think this is a writer's jumping off point for writing their stories. What if X happens instead of T. Incidents read in the newspaper, seen on TV, events around the house are turned into stories by asking "What if?"

During the writing of my YA fantasies, this is often the case. "What if Jewe;s enabled a person to do magical things. Thus the Jewels of Earda trilogy was born. The first two books went easily and then I came to the last book and a question popped into my head. "What is the secret of the Jewels? What if they aren't what they were thought to be during the first two books. I was off and running.

The question "What if" also figures in the Henge Betrayed series. What if someone could control the elements as water, fire, earth and air. I was off and running.

Asking yourself "What if?" can add twists and turns to your stories that even you as the writer don't even suspect will happen. Triggering the imagination. Isn't that what fiction writing is all about?


  1. I agree that the most important question a writer can ask is "What if?" It can spur all kinds of great ideas!

  2. I totally use the 'what if?' scenario in all my stories. As a matter of fact it was my husband who came to me with the 'what if?' scenario for CROSSED OUT. I took that idea and ran with it!

  3. I actually just did a blog about What If? And, yes, it does stir the imagination.

  4. My son does the "What if?" all the time. Sometimes they can be totally off the wall, but it does get you thinking. I keep telling him he needs to write things down. He could be a writer in the making.

  5. Ah, you bring back not so fond memories of typewriters and carbon paper. So messy.

    What if? does get one to thinking. Aren't imaginations marvelous?

    Nice post.