Monday, August 30, 2010


By Anna DePalo

As a writer, I’m always looking for that germ of an idea. But what can spark ideas for a story?

Some writers need to ruminate a long time. This is often where the idea for the first novel or novels comes from. Usually characters are formed in your head, coalescing from a variety of experiences and stimuli over the years. Perhaps you saw a movie once…or read a book…or attended a show.

This method is exactly how the idea for my first book, HAVING THE TYCOON'S BABY, formed. I had the general idea of a family—three brothers and a sister—in my head a long time. I slowly developed different plot lines for them. They became the books HAVING THE TYCOON'S BABY, UNDER THE TYCOON'S PROTECTION, TYCOON TAKES REVENGE, and CAPTIVATED BY THE TYCOON.

On the other hand, to maintain productivity, particularly in popular fiction, it eventually becomes necessary to stimulate the imagination. Now any life experience can do this—traveling, meeting new and interesting people, or going through a big event such as having a baby or getting married.

But sometimes you need more targeted stimulation. In this case, you need to expose yourself to the types of experiences that would trigger ideas for the particular type of book that you want to write.

Are you into glitz-and-glam novels? Then perhaps subscribing to Vanity Fair or some other magazine covering the rich and famous is a good idea. Do you want to write thrillers? Then perhaps touring FBI headquarters is in order.

Since I write for Silhouette Desire, which is an imprint that often features wealthy, powerful heroes, I keep exposed to the lifestyles of the rich and famous. I subscribe to People and Vanity Fair. I check in on gossip columns such as Page Six of The New York Post. I read books such as THE SKY'S THE LIMIT: PASSION AND PROPERTY IN MANHATTAN, which focuses on the buying and selling of coops by celebrities. I keep up with The View on television.

For my current Aristocratic Grooms trilogy for Silhouette Desire, which starts this month with HIS BLACK SHEEP BRIDE, I started buying Tatler magazine, which chronicles high society life in Britain.

What about you? Where do you draw inspiration from for your writing or life in general?♥

On the verge of graduating from law school, Anna DePalo decided it was finally time to face a new challenge and write a novel. Her Aristocratic Grooms trilogy for Silhouette Desire starts with HIS BLACK SHEEP BRIDE (August 2010) and continues with ONE NIGHT WITH PRINCE CHARMING(March 2011). She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, son and daughter. Visit her online at


  1. I get a lot of my ideas from magazines and newspapers. I love it when I get that spark of an idea and it just mushrooms from there. Sometimes the story line is a dud, but that triggers the next idea and the next. Thanks for sharing--mcf

  2. It's when I'm not looking that I find my best ideas for a story. As long as I keep my eyes open, take notice and NOTES! I don't miss them.

  3. I get my ideas from the craziest things. They might come from magazines or tv but usually it's a line that sets off me thinking then I'm off with it.

  4. Great post! My inspiration comes from everywhere. An article I read, a place I visit, a person I meet. I'm always amazed at the way my mind will reshape something into something completely new (and usually more interesting than the reality ) But I do need to ruminate a bit to get a full fledged story to emerge. Love the cover, Anna!

  5. What an interesting post. Like Dee, I get ideas from all over the place. An actor I've seen in a movie or on stage, a tree in a park, someone sitting on the subway, a mouse in my apartment, a Wikipedia article, daydreaming in the shower, the BBC on WNYC, etc. I'm shameless--I'll use all of it when I write. By the way, I read your latest book and loved it, especially the witty dialogue. Karen K.

  6. This is really a fascinating blog, lots of stuff that I can get into. One thing I just want to say is that your Blog is so perfect!