Guest Chick: Kaye George

The Chicks are thrilled to welcome back our pal, the always delightful Kaye George. And we’ve stumbled onto an accidental theme this week – where do writers get their ideas? Leslie shared what she goes through on Monday. Today, Kaye gives us her take on it…

The Dreaded Question

Where do you get your ideas?

Why do people always ask this? I got asked just a week ago. It’s kind of my fault because I’m always going around telling people I write murder mysteries and giving them my cards. So that they might possibly, maybe, perhaps, buy one of them.

I think I might know the answer. They ask that question because THEY don’t get ideas for murder mysteries. I suppose normal people don’t think about the topic much. Which means that mysteries writers aren’t normal people. But I think you knew that.

The answer is, of course, we can’t help it. Ideas are flooding into our poor, abnormal brains all the time.

We read a news story about body parts floating ashore. IDEA!

We hear someone complain about an ungrateful, unfaithful, or otherwise undesirable spouse or partner. IDEA!

We remember some crazy antics from our high school years, or those of our siblings. IDEA!

We read a warning label of just about any product. IDEA!

We hear of a medical procedure gone wrong. IDEA!

I pulled from a lot of “ideas” to put INTO THE SWEET HEREAFTER together. One of the most absorbing one, for me, was the news about things happening in Myanmar/Burma. This was before those things that are happening now. The truth is, those people have had it rough for quite a while. If I can bring attention to their plight and generate some sympathy, and maybe even some sort of aid for them, then I’ll feel like my job is worthwhile, even beyond entertaining you and amusing you. And, if studies are to be believed, keeping you young by keeping you reading.

I think back to when I used to paint with acrylics. I thought in terms of acrylic-painting. I woke up in the morning with ideas to paint.

Then, when I used to write music, I remember that I thought in music-writing. Wisps of melody would waft through my brain all day long and wouldn’t leave me alone until I set them down, then added some harmony and some shape.

Our subconscious is obedient, I’ve decided. It sees what our conscious is trying to do and does its best to help out. It reaches into the ether and grabs the ideas that are floating by, the ones that pertain to what we’re trying to consciously accomplish.

So now, when I sit at the computer for hours and bang out characters, settings, plots, and mysteries, my sub-conscious is gathering material for me, even while I sleep.

So, does that sound like a kooky theory? If it does, just remember, I’m a writer. I’m not normal.

Readers, what’s the best or worst idea you ever had?

All images are from pixabay. com

SYNOPSIS: Spring has sprung in the charming tourist town of Fredericksburg, Texas, and one of the tastiest attractions is a trip to Tally’s Old Tyme Sweets—until a bizarre burglary leaves a bitter aftertaste.

BIO: Kaye George is a national-bestselling, multiple-award-winning author of pre-history, traditional, and cozy mysteries (her latest is the Vintage Sweets series from Lyrical Press), as well as over 50 short stories. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Smoking Guns chapter (Knoxville), Guppies chapter, Authors Guild of TN, Knoxville Writers Group, and Austin Mystery Writers. She lives and works in Knoxville, TN. Visit Kaye here.


27 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Kaye George

    1. Kaye, I ‘ve lost track of the number is times I’ve woken up after a good night’s sleep with an idea to resolve a plot issue.
      I have a lot of fun watching mysteries and then thinking about how I could take the murder from the episode and twist it into one of my own stories. Yes, the trained mind is always working!

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I’m always jotting down ideas from true crime shows that I can maybe, someday, somehow, use in my own stuff. I have a lot of sticky notes around. Somewhere.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Ah, the subconscious. James Scott Bell calls it “the boys in the basement.” I suppose you could say “women in the basement” too.

    “Hey, I’ve got a problem. I need a good way to smuggle a body out of a hotel. Got anything for me?”

    “On it,” they yell. A good night’s sleep and they can usually come up with something.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Oh no! Mine have been working in the attic. I’ll send at least half of them to the basement. Maybe THEN I’ll be a NYTimes bestseller. Thanks!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. The best idea-generating machine for me is writing. Often, when I begin a chapter, I have only a vague idea of where it’s going. Writing is a chore – I must put down sentence after sentence, sure I am writing dreck, and wait for the idea to emerge. Most of the time, it does, and suddenly the chapter is off to a place where I never dreamed it would go to.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Thanks for being on the Chicks today, Kaye! Congrats on your latest book–and all your amazing ideas!

    My worst ideas come in the middle of the night without fail. My best? I’m not sure, but I keep a journal of them. And then there are the ideas that people decide to give to me “for free”–as long as I use them to write a book and split the proceeds with them.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I guess one of the perks of being isolated for a year is not getting those “free ideas” from people who want you to write them. I did develop a standard answer that involves me being too busy and them writing it themselves so they can keep all of that money. All those piles and piles of money. An alternate response is to tell them how much I earn writing. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I read an article recently that posited the idea that the reason our dreams are so very visual is because the brain is making sure the other senses don’t take over our vision sense while it’s unoccupied (i.e., our eyes are closed). Is this the unconscious telling us that we need to keep creating our stories even when we’re sleeping? Too bad those stories don’t seem as wonderful in the light of day…

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Congrats on the new book!

    Where ideas come from is always fascinating to me. And I do think it is something that is learned. Writers are more open to it, but anyone who wanted to write could be turned into an idea factory like that.

    Me? I’d rather read about the ideas that authors have come up with.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I get the best ideas–for other books–when I am about midway through writing my current ms. Never fails. On occasion, I put the current WIP aside and try to write that “great idea.” It never works. Now I jot down a new story idea or email myself a link to that cool news article and sternly command myself to look at it later. Of course, the new idea never seems quite as shiny later. Sometimes I wonder why on earth I was interested in it. I wish just once I could literally dream up a story in my sleep, but it never happens, sadly. Keep those great ideas percolating, Kaye, because we love your books! Congrats on your latest–what a lovely cover, too. Thanks again for visiting us today.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have to love anyone who loves my books, right? It sounds like you always have plenty of future projects lined up. Let’s hope we all don’t run out of ideas!


    1. That’s supposed to happen when you walk the dog, not when you scoop. LOL! We would never exercise or clean if it weren’t a way to get ideas, I think.


  7. Kaye, so great to have you hanging out today with the Chicks! Really hope we all get to meet up again sometime and have a drink together at an in-person conference!
    Fun post! Nice to have friends who are also often bombarded by mysterious and murderous ideas, lol!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Kaye! So happy to have you here!

    Ah, the subconscious. I recently read that it’s especially hard at work when our minds don’t consider a task complete, which causes it to spin in the background like a computer performing an update. Fascinating!

    My former creative director used to tell me that he did his best concepting while running. All I can think of while running is “there’s a stick,” “watch out for that root,” “I wonder whose dog that is?”, etc.! Perhaps I do my best thinking whilst seated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s only so much the conscious mind can pay attention to, right? I’ve read about giving yourself tasks to complete while you’re asleep. I’m not sure that works reliably. But I think it does sometimes! I like to think of that–an overnight computer, processing the latest batch. I used to program mainframes, so that resonates.

      Liked by 1 person

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