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Nominate the Independent

November 13, 2019 by in category From a Cabin in the Woods by Members of Bethlehem Writers Group tagged as , , , ,
Diane Sismour | A Slice of Orange
Diane Sismour

Muses are complicated, unreliable, reluctant and downright ornery at time. Especially those times fiction writers rely on their whispers. No matter how much pleading we may do, they can flutter a story to someone new—someone who paid their heed to write with haste to complete the plot and not let life get in the way.

Muses are overrated, say the writers who aren’t staring at a white page with a dash blinking.

We should make a stand against how creativity blips into our minds and conjures ideas. The very lifeblood of our writing careers dance on the wire between characters flowing into reality, and the hard-pressed compromise of grunting words onto the page.

Would we ever turn our backs on the whispers? No. The whispers manage to coerce us into believing we can’t manage without them. That any organic thought would perish before the second scene.

However, muses don’t stand well against the match of a good writing partner. A partner who can in your most dire of need, visualize a story from beginning to end and hit all the plot twists. Someone who doesn’t wisp away when the writing gets tough, and who can switch their imagination on at your darkest hour to find the turning point in your story. Just remember to take notes!

So wherever you are in your writing careers, stand tall against relying on the whispers. Talk to a confidant and work through the saggy middles of your plots. Find the character flaws that can make your story live. Unite against the muse and nominate the independent. You.

Happy writing!

Diane Sismour

P.S. Please don’t tell my muse!


Books by Diane Sismour

Diane Sismour

Diane Sismour has written poetry and fiction for over 35 years in multiple genres. She lives with her husband in eastern Pennsylvania at the foothills of the Blue Mountains. Diane is a member of Romance Writers of America, Bethlehem Writer’s Group LLC, Horror Writers Association, and Liberty States Fiction Writers.  She enjoys interviewing other authors and leading writer’s workshops.

Her website is www.dianesismour.com, and her blog is www.dianesismour.blogspot.com.

You can find her on Facebook and Twitter at: http://facebook.com/dianesismour, http://facebook.com/networkforthearts, and  https://twitter.com/dianesismour.

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Conversations with Barb and Jann

April 2, 2012 by in category Archives tagged as , , ,


Where Do You Get Your Story Ideas?


Barb: Hey Jann, someone at work asked me where I get the ideas for my stories. Interesting question. I thought we’d talk about that subject, because it fascinates me to hear authors talk about all the different ways they’ve come up with their weird, wacky and wonderful plots and characters. I can blame OCC and Dean Koontz for my current WIP. I sat in an Ask an Author session at an OCC meeting awhile back and one of the ladies talked about her paranormal project. Something clicked, a witch was born, along with her familiar, a ferret who can disappear and reappear at will, like the dog in Koontz’s Relentless.

My Dream Makers trilogy, which sits awaiting a paranormal makeover, was inspired by my husband’s car club, the Orange County Mustang Club. They were approached by the Make A Wish Foundation to restore a Mustang for a teenager. The foundation’s representative said they don’t do a lot of makeovers because of the liability, and they especially don’t cover the engine rebuilds. That got me thinking about the children whose wishes are unfulfilled because they are either too expensive, too dangerous or pretty darn impossible. Well, my Dream Makers foundation loves a challenge!

What about your stories, Jann? From where do you draw your inspirations?

Jann: Most of my story ideas generate when I’m someplace new, especially when I’m on vacation. Seeing new places and being relaxed always opens a window of ideas. I know some people start with characters and some with plot. I seem to start with a location and think about what my characters are doing there. Recently I spent the weekend at The Oaks at Ojai. Entering the beautiful lobby, I found myself imagining my heroine coming back to the beloved family-owned resort and having to face the one man who broke her heart. He is now trying to steal the resort that has fallen into financial difficulties. From that point on, every experience I have has me thinking of another possible scene. It’s great. The only trouble is when I’m travelling with non-writing friends, they don’t understand why I’m always writing down a note or taking a picture of the restaurant dining room.

Your question got me thinking about how some of our mutual writing friends get their ideas, so I asked them.

Linda O. Johnston, who I’ve known for years and writes a Pet Rescue Mystery series as well as Romantic Suspense and Paranormal for Harlequin, says, ”Ideas are everywhere! I read. I eavesdrop. I ask questions and brainstorm with friends. I look around me and think how things I see might fit into a story. I usually have a theme in mind, or at least the kind of story I intend to write–cozy mystery, paranormal romance, romantic suspense or whatever. I let my subconscious mull on what I’ve seen or heard… and then I spill it out in stream of consciousness onto the computer to see how it fits!”

Laura Drake, who we met through OCC and just recently sold her debut novel The Sweet Spot in a three-book deal to Grand Central, says, ”Plots come to me many ways — riding my motorcycle, watching bull riding, seeing an old wreck of a house, talking to a friend. It’s a spark – something that catches my attention and fires my imagination. What if . . . And I’m off!”

Tessa Dare, 2012 Rita finalist for A Night to Surrender, finds that she’s ”very much a character-driven writer. Many of my stories originate when I think of two people on polar opposites of some personality trait or issue. For example, a woman for whom family and hospitality are paramount, paired with a man who can’t stand social gatherings (One Dance with a Duke). Or a shallow, charming rake paired with a scholarly, socially awkward geologist (A Week to be Wicked). The more my hero and heroine are opposites on the surface, the more fun I can have pushing them into uncomfortable situations that reveal their deeply-buried similarities.”

Barb: Linda Johnston is right. Ideas are everywhere. The trick is finding one that resonates long enough to finish the damn book!

Let us know where you get your story ideas.

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