LIAN TANNER

Where do I get my ideas?

January 14th, 2012

That has to be the question that authors are most frequently asked. If you’d like to know where some of the ideas in the Keepers trilogy came from, have a look at this guest post that I did recently for Kids Book Review. (But make sure you’ve read Museum of Thieves first, otherwise it will spoil one of the surprises.)

0 thoughts on “Where do I get my ideas?

  1. Lily says:

    cool . . . I gotta use that tool. I had no idea that that was your insparation for the book. Wow. I’m flabbergasted that some people are actually like that . . . Jeez . . . let the poor guy live . . .

    1. Lian says:

      There are a surprising number of children around now who are not allowed out by themselves. It’s a bit scary really, when you think of things they aren’t learning.

  2. Lily says:

    Yeah . . . I’m glad my parents aren’t like that.

  3. Rachel says:

    i have two questions.
    how do you know if you have written or are writing a book that is too much like a book you have already read? i read a book and after i read it, i had a really good idea. it is somewhat related to the book, but i have my own ideas in it. unfortunately, i have no idea if it is too much like it…it isnt quite the same. What do you think?

    1. Lian says:

      That’s an interesting question, Rachel. It’s not uncommon for authors to get ideas from a book they have read. But what you must keep in mind is that the initial idea is, in a lot of ways, the easiest and least important part of a book. It’s what comes AFTER the idea that counts. That’s where you make the book your own. I always have quite a long space after I’ve got the initial idea for a book, and before I start writing. This is where I think about who the characters are going to be, and what they are like. Not their looks, because that is not the most important part of them, but their nature – what they really want in life, what they love, what they hate. This time is also where I think about what sort things might happen during the story. You need to do this work from your own heart, thinking about what you believe in, and not copying anyone else. If you do that, the book you end up with will be totally different from the one you read that gave you the idea in the first place. You see, you could give two writers exactly the same idea to start with, and their books would be completely different. Our writing comes from our heart, and from our intellect, and from our life experiences, and everyone is different in those things, so everyone will write a different story, unless they are copying.

  4. Rachel says:

    Here is my second question.
    A book that i read about writing books told me to write down stuff in a journal. including writing down my dreams and daydreams. um… what if i dont want to write those down. sometimes i dont want to remember them and what if someone else saw it. some stuff is a little private. i can write down my senses and the way people act, but i dont know if i would be willing to write down THAT. what do you suggest?

    1. Lian says:

      If you’re uncomfortable about writing certain things down, then don’t do it. You have to take all such writing advice with a grain of salt – not every bit of advice suits every person. When you are young, it is hard to keep your writing as private as it sometimes needs to be, and if you’re concerned about it, it’s better not to do it. So for now, write down the things you see and hear and smell during the day, and the way people act, and other external stuff like that. That’s all very useful for a writer, and makes you better at observing the world.

  5. Rachel says:

    ok thanks. I am glad that I don’t have to write them down, only if they would actually be a good idea for a book instead of something stupid or personal. 🙂 Thanks again for the advice. My book just has the same like “Go to a different world” thing, that is all. I am making it a little different except, I didn’t catch this at first, for it seems like I have the same kind of characters: Main character is a girl and there is two boys. But I think that would be okay because of the different storyline and problems. 😀

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