Where Do Your Ideas Come From?

Posted by on Aug 14, 2014 in Book: Cub's Big World, Book: Dragon's Egg, Children's Literature | 0 comments

A Young GIrl Reading, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, c. 1776

A Young Girl Reading, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, c. 1776

For some reason a lot of writers hate this question. I’m not sure why. Myself, I don’t mind it. I can usually track down where my idea for a particular book came from. (Dragon’s Egg came from a conversation with my nephew, Cub’s Big World came from the moment I learned that polar bear cubs are born in snow dens and don’t see the outside world until they’re a few months old).

But for everyday purposes I have a short and simple answer: From other people’s books.

I don’t mean copying, I don’t mean stealing (Who was it who said that if you steal, always do it from at least three different sources and call it research?); I mean inspiration. If I stopped reading tomorrow, I’d stop writing next week. Filling myself up with stories, characters, settings, facts, and discoveries is the only way to allow my subconscious to come up with new ideas of my own. The trouble is, it’s been tough finding enough time for the last several years to read as much as I’d like to.

So I am declaring a summer sabbatical. For a good part of the month of August, I am not going to write; I am going to read. Award winners, classics, new and popular stuff that I haven’t kept up with, books people recommend or books that just catch my eye. Anything you think I shouldn’t miss? Please let me know.

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