by Kay Springsteen

I just signed a contract on my fifth work with my publishing house, Astraea Press. This will be my fourth full-length novel there. What’s truly ironic about this particular novel is that it started out as a summertime weekly free read based on different weekly writing prompts a few author friends and I put together. Around the third prompt, the scenes I had written for the prompt took on a flavor, a style and a purpose. A story began to gel, and 80,000 words later, when I announced I’d completed it, my publisher asked to see the draft. WOW! The first, very rough draft went to her as requested and today she sent me a contract.

Now, I joined the writing prompt team for fun. I love the challenge of molding words and crafting scenes based on a prompt. We use one-object nouns as the prompt, and the word chosen must be used in some form in the scene we write. From the opening scene using the prompt “ice cream,” a good friend of mine, Kim Bowman (Wayward Soul, Astraea Press) kept telling me, “You have a winner here. Your characters are great. You need to stop using these scenes as summer free reads and just write the story.”

Of course, I scoffed. I hmmed and hawed. I didn’t see anything special at first. But then the characters developed more fully. I began to see a direction for them and a plotline began to develop. By the time we reached the fifth prompt, which was “cheese,” I was more than halfway into writing this book. Half pantsed (because of the prompts), half plotted, this was a new adventure for me, a devoted loose plotter. But the story moved very quickly. I felt almost driven to write it. My family and friends complained that I was quiet. They wondered if I was ill or if something had happened. In reality, this story was consuming me, demanding I write it.

It was an amazing feeling, knowing I was writing what would become a full-length novel, and it had all started with just the prompt of “ice cream.” I never know where my next inspiration will come from but never in a million years would I have believed a prompt about ice cream would be the start of Heartsent.

Readers: Does it ever interest you to know where the authors you read get their inspiration?

Writers: What’s the weirdest inspiration you’ve ever received and where did that particular inspiration ultimately take you?


4 responses to “Inspiration

  1. Wonderful Blog! it is always nice to hear what inspires other authors. I’d have to say the wierdest inspiration I got was from a rastafarian wig at a holloween party…gave me the idea for “living dred-like-hair”, for one of my Sci-fi Novels.
    Thank you for sharing your inspiration with us!

  2. It’s funny for me to get inspiration from movies that have nothing to do with the genre of my book. I can watch and action thriller and come up with something amazing for my latest paranormal romance.

    Heartsent is going to be a bestseller for sure.

  3. I can’t go into too much detail since the idea is still fresh, but the idea for a book I’m jotting down came from a story I read about a woman receiving the first face transplant:)

  4. Congrats on another well-deserved success, lady.

    I dreamed a novel a couple years ago. Now if I could just dream the major subplot, I’d write the darn thing.

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