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March 25, 2010

When a Plot Point and a Plot Point REALLY Love Each Other...

Kate Hart
The final question in Cory's "How Writers Do It" series is:
Where do stories come from?

Where do stories come from? It's a magical place... a beautiful shire in my head, full of creatures....

wait. That's where Demetri Martin's jokes come from.
Demetri Martin - Magical Place
Joke of the DayStand-Up ComedyFree Online Games

The truth is, I haven't had many ideas yet. I have a few SNIs (shiny new ideas) floating around, but mostly I've concentrated on my current WIP. The idea for it came from the same place that Stephen King's ideas come from:
“What all of my ideas boil down to is seeing maybe one thing, but in a lot of cases it’s seeing two things and having them come together in some new and interesting way, and then adding the question ‘What if?’ ‘What if’ is always the key question.”

Which sure beats his other answer:
"...I have the heart of a small boy... and I keep it in a jar on my desk."
(That's a quote that floats around the internet. I'm not positive it's actually in the book.)

And that's it. My idea was born from the question, "What if there were really witches in Oklahoma?" It went from there. 

There's no telling where my next idea will come from. If only my muse were a stork.


  1. Gilda Radnor of YA. ALL. THE. WAY. I love your posts, Kate. And the "What if" is exactly where they come from.

  2. I like that it's a shire. That totally sets you up as Gandalf, and you roll into town from time to time to take one of your ideas on an epic adventure to thwart evil. Sweet. Definitely an extended metaphor in there somewhere. The reluctant idea that has greatness within and just needed you to have faith in it. Older ideas that have been itching to get on the page and are restless from kicking around the pastoral too long.

    I suppose that extended metaphor could get out of hand in a hurry. Maybe best let sleeping whatnots do something or other.

  3. PS--didn't watch the vid, so apologies if that's where he takes the comparison...

  4. Darn it! Can't see the video if you're in Canada.

    I'm not sure if any of my ideas come from 'what if' questions. The only 'what if' I usually hear is from my 7 yo. Like in, "What if I didn't go to bed tonight?" :)

  5. Cory: I'm glad you did this series and forced me to think critically (sort of) about a few issues for a change.

    I never know what's going to pull Cat out of hiding and I'm always so psyched when it works.

    Stina: That's a story-- "If you don't go to bed, Mommy will lose her ever loving mind..." Hijinks and asylums ensue.

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  7. I have no idea where my ideas come from. With Hemlock, a five second scene popped into my head. I never did much with it. Years later, I saw a groundhog in a cemetery and about five lines of dialogue and tags popped into my head.

    With IFG, I found a book in a secondhand store and started tying to make up a story about who owned it, how it got there, and who bought it.

    With the new one, I was walking through a rundown part of town and started thinking it looked like the end of civilization.

  8. Omg the last comic was SO FUNNY! Great post!

  9. Yes, the 'What if?' is key to any good idea! I agree 100%...but you said it a whole lot better and funnier than I couldve! lol

  10. Kate, that was awesome! I laughed so much!

  11. LOL. I think my muse IS a stork. My ideas just drop out of nowhere, it seems.

    Other times, it's a look, a scene, a pair of holded hands, a comment, a news story, a hope, a rendering . . .

  12. Any post with Happiness and Cyanide is automagically full of win. :D

  13. I always agree with King. He is the King after all - plus he's not somebody I'd mess with. His quote about the heart is my favorite - cracks me up! My son (6) started the where to babies come from questioning. I said stork. He said, "How does the stork get it inside the mommy? Do they have to EAT THE BABY???" He had a horrified expression and I had no idea what to tell him.

  14. I agree about the "What if?" If it isn't how a story gets started, it sure should be part of the process of getting the story written to keep it moving forward.

    LOVED the comic!!

  15. 'What if' is always a great place to start.

    Man, that cartoon made me literally lol. I had to show Josh so he knew what made me suddenly burst out laughing.


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