Where DO you get your ideas? — guest post by E.J. Tett

Here’s a guest post by one of my fabulous writing friends, E.J. Tett, who (as Emma Jane Tett) has two (!) novels coming out in 2014: Otherworld (co-authored with Liz Powell) from Torquere Press (November), and Shuttered from Dreamspinner Press (December).

She has also published many, many, many short stories — here’s a link to her blog, which contains a full bibliography.


Whenever people find out that I’m a writer, I often get the question, “how do you think of all those stories?” I usually just shrug and say (very eloquently) “I dunno.”

Because I don’t know. How do I think of stories? They just seem to appear in my mind – it starts as a feeling usually, an itch to write something. Sometimes I’ll sit down and start writing with only that itch and let the first words which come into my mind out on the page. Other times, the feeling will develop into a personality for a character. It’s like somebody’s pushing to take me over and wants me to move out the way so they can get to the keyboard and write their story down. With Otherworld, all I could see was a character vomiting into a toilet but I had a sense of his personality and a feel for how he spoke and moved. This was my posh boy Liam, and for a while, he was very loud. And so the opening to Otherworld starts with Liam throwing up. Why is he throwing up? You’ll have to buy the book and find out.

Sometimes, I’ll get an idea from a dream. I’m of the opinion that our dreams are always more interesting to ourselves than they are to other people, but I have plenty of odd ones (most of which are too odd to turn into anything) but sometimes you can get a little snippet out of it which can be used in a story. I once dreamt of fighting skeletal creatures on a ship and I took these creatures and used them in The Kingdom of Malinas. I left the ship.

I guess I’m influenced by things I’ve seen, too. TV shows, films, real-life events. Other things I’ve written. For example, I have a story called My Life and the Pigeon (published in Static Movement’s Literary Foray anthology) where the MC could communicate with a pigeon. I liked the character’s voice and I liked the idea of being able to talk to just one animal but not really knowing why, or if it was really happening. It inspired me to write Shuttered where my MC, Daniel, can communicate telepathically with his dog.

Once I have a vague notion of what I want to write, I just start. Sometimes it goes somewhere and sometimes it doesn’t. Usually, fairly soon after starting (if it’s a goer), I’ll get the end scene come into my head so, even though I make it all up as I go along, I do have an end goal in mind. Though this isn’t always the case – I have no idea how my current work in progress is going to end.

I’ve always loved reading, and telling stories and being told them. I want to tell stories so that people can feel what I’m feeling, I want to share the experience.

How do I think of all those stories? I dunno. It’s just the way my synapses fire.

One thought on “Where DO you get your ideas? — guest post by E.J. Tett

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