How to Find Ideas to Write About

Can’t generate inspiration for a new story? Not sure what to write about?

Everyone gets ideas a little differently. For some people, the plot is the first thing to develop in their minds. For others, the worldbuilding. For me, it’s characters.

But all books start with an idea. And here are some ways to help spark inspiration.

  1. Become a people watcher.
    No, not in a creepy sense. But become an observer of people. No matter what genre you’re writing in, there is inspiration to be found in the everyday. Understand what drives people, what motivates, what detracts. Take the time for this, and your books will greatly benefit.
  2. Go for a walk.
    Seriously, just step out your door with your writer’s cap on (and bring a notebook) and the world WILL spill ideas to you. You might not use them, but they will be there.
  3. Use the writer’s prism.
    Borrowing the line from David Baldacci. 😉

    No matter where you are, look at the world through the writer’s prism. Writers are curious. Writers ask questions. Writers seek to understand. And it never hurts to throw a few good theories out there. Why did the mailman start walking faster at that house? Why did the dog bark? Why did that car honk its horn? Is there some connection between this person and that person who aren’t looking at each other?

    (You get the idea.)
  4. Watch a movie/read a book.
    This one doesn’t personally work for me, because when I garner ideas from movies or books, they end up looking wwaayy too much like the source material. 😂 So I have to let them simmer a good long time.

    But this might work for you. Even if you aren’t looking for inspiration, take a brain break. Learn from somebody else’s work. Observe. Take notes.

Regardless of where you look for inspiration, you are likely to find it. Not all ideas turn into best sellers or even finished novels, but if you have a thought, write it down. You never know.

After all, even Lord of the Rings started with an idea.

So, what do you think? What are some sources of inspiration you reach out to? Do any of these resonate with you? Let’s chat in the comments!

Advertisement

Fate of a Prince COVER REVEAL and Announcement

The day has arrived.

You all get to see the cover for my new YA fantasy novel, Fate of a Prince.

But first . . .

. . . let me share the exciting announcement related to this reveal.

You guys can support the publishing of this novel on Kickstarter!

For my first ever Kickstarter campaign, I am not just attempting to cover publishing costs, but also hasten the release of the SEQUEL to Fate of a Prince. Book two, Destiny of a King, has already been written! It is just waiting to be sent off to my editor.

By backing this project on Kickstarter, you can receive an autographed copy of Fate, AS WELL as an autographed copy of my debut novel, Promised Land.

Cool, right?

Okay, let’s get to the cover.

That’s what you’re all here for right? 😉

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Oh, wait, I forgot the blurb.

.

.

In a land controlled by the power of four immortal sorcerers, a young prince learns that he was chosen before birth to be among those sacrificed to the usurpers.

Lance always hated the sacrifice—now, having learned of his fate, he despises it all the more. And that his own parents could have marked him for death is unthinkable. There seems to be no hope of circumventing the decree . . . but his servant isn’t willing to accept that.

Kyden is a restless, nimble-fingered sorcerer, running from his past as fast as he can. He never planned to wind up indebted to the prince and working as a servant, nor did he plan on counting Lance as a friend—a friend he is not willing to watch die.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

I. Love. This. Cover.

I hope you guys do, too!

That quote right there is from one of my favorite chapters in the book. 😍

*remembers the glories of writing the novel*

I may have had the most fun I’ve ever had between writing Fate and Destiny. I am so excited to share these stories with the world.

But first!

The Kickstarter campaign!

Number One Reason NOT to Self-Publish

Let’s face it, self-publishing has become hugely popular. I’m an indie author myself. But the decision to self-publish must not be made lightly. If you haven’t decided yourself, I’m not going to get into all the reasons to publish your book on your own (there are many good reasons).

Today, I want to talk about why NOT to self-publish.

And, really, there’s just one (multi-faceted) reason.

Self-publishing gets a bad wrap.

Sad, but true. Independently published books get funny looks from a lot of people.

And as unfortunate as it is, the reputation is not entirely undeserved.

Self-publishing has procured a vast number of people who want to call themselves writers, who publish their book without ever giving it the proper time and investment to make it stand out.

And I am NOT judging. Self-publishing is an incredible opportunity, and I hope that those people who have published books that maybe shouldn’t have been published go on to improve their craft and keep publishing!

I will be the first to admit my debut (indie) novel probably needed more work, and I certainly didn’t have the money for a professional cover.

But I’ve learned SO. MUCH. from publishing it. My next book has had more editing, better formatting, AND a professionally designed cover.

Self-publishing can end up a lesson in frustration if you don’t take the necessary steps to ensure a professional outcome. If you don’t invest in quality services like editing, formatting, and design, you may end up disappointed with the final product.

Nevertheless, those are hard knocks you can learn from if you’ve already put a book out there that needed to cook a while longer.

More than the personal disappointment, however, there are professional concerns. Your name is now permanently attached to that book, for better or worse. If you don’t put your best foot forward, you will lose readers who may have otherwise ended up regarding you as an “auto-buy author.”

Without professional editing,

without proper formatting,

without a professionally designed, genre-suited cover,

you have hurt your chances of being well regarded in the indie author field.

That said, I do want to encourage you, if you’ve already published a book that wasn’t ready, keep going! Keep writing, keep learning, keep publishing. Consider a pen name if you think you need to separate yourself from previously published books.

Yes, we want to maintain absolute professionalism as indie authors, and yes, we want to publish books that were completely ready, and maybe even had offers from traditional publishing houses . . .

. . . but the greatest blessing of our ability today to self-publish is that it is an opportunity to learn. And who learns anything without making mistakes?


Have you joined the cover reveal for my new novel, Fate of a Prince yet? I promise, you don’t want to miss your chance to see this amazing cover before the masses! Sign up here.

What They Never Taught You About Hyphens

Hyphens carry a deep dark secret you were never taught.

Brain: Ahem. You mean you were never taught.

Hush.

Yes, I was never taught when NOT to use hyphens. I only learned the secret while tutoring my sixth-grade cousin.

As you already know, you use hyphens for situations like this:

The blue-black sky lit up with the dawn.

He’ll be in Alaska with twenty-one others.

She works in a state-of-the-art facility.

Etc. Etc.

But, as someone who used a fair amount of hyphens, I was never taught that you DON’T use hyphens in the following situations:

The doctor – an old friend of my mom’s – came for dinner.

Nope. No hyphens here.

.

.

.

.

Okay, so the fact is, there is a different form of punctuation called an em dash. And if you already know this, awesome. But if you’re like me, and you didn’t, read on!

In a sentence like this, you’d use an em dash, not a hyphen:

The doctor—an old friend of my mom’s—came for dinner.

This is a hyphen: –

This is an em dash: —

I was not aware of that for a very long time (and I know others who weren’t, either), and it definitely resulted in some embarrassing formatting.

We won’t talk about that.

Anyway, how do you get an em dash, since most keyboards don’t have them?

On Windows, just use alt 0151. Tedious? Maybe. I just had to go through 249 pages of my book, replacing incorrectly used hyphens with em dashes.

But, now you know!

In short: Hyphens are used to join words. Em dashes are used to separate clauses.


Have you joined the cover reveal for my new novel, Fate of a Prince yet? I promise, you don’t want to miss your chance to see this amazing cover before the masses! Sign up here.

Well, I Read the Book.

I read 500 pages in, like, five days, so, that was fun.

I was so excited to read Daican’s Heir, the sixth and final book in the Ilyon Chronicles Series.

This series has been hugely impactful in my writing for a very long time. I’m pretty sure I picked it up before book 3 was even released.

Needless to say, I had high expectations.

Daican’s Heir did not disappoint. WOW. What. A. Ride. Jaye, do you stay up at night thinking of new ways to torture your characters? 😉

In all seriousness, the nail-biting conflicts were exciting and engaging at every step. I was SO emotionally invested. There was so much resolution, finally, in the end. The end is, in fact, very long because there is a lot to resolve in the lives of a lot of different characters.

There were so many 😍 moments and 😱 moments. It was epic.

Little tiny spoiler, but if you’ve read the book:

I wondered the whole time who it was who would ultimately kill Davira, but I was NOT expecting —–. Seriously, that was great!

Anyway, fantastic conclusion to an amazing series. Hats off, Jaye Knight!

Fate of a Prince Cover Reveal SIGN-UPS

You. Guys.

I. Am. Flipping. Out.

The sign-ups are OPEN for the cover reveal for Fate of a Prince!!!!!!

I cannot believe we are finally here. I am in the formatting stage with this book, but the cover is DONE. And I could not be more excited for you all to see it.

Speaking of which, if you sign up to reveal the cover (on your blog, Facebook, or Instagram), you will get to see the cover before ANYONE ELSE!

The reveal will happen on March 10th.

Ready? Here we play.

https://forms.gle/yFhYxcGGxciFRuqS8

How to Format Your Book for Self-Publishing (part one)

Ah, you’ve arrived to it at last. The thrilling portion of self-publishing known as formatting. The delight of all writers, the zenith of our craft (or our patience *cough*).

Okay, formatting is, like, the bane of self-publishing. Seriously. And it must be undertaken with a thorough knowledge of proper formatting.

I am not going to fill this post with the boring little details (I’ll get to that in part two), but did you know that a hypen and an em dash are SO not the same thing? 🤨

Brain: Of course they know that. You’re the only who didn’t know that until a couple years ago.

Shut up.

Anyway.

There are a few things you’ll need to survive formatting your book.

First: Epic music.

Okay, maybe not epic, but seriously, LISTEN to your book’s soundtrack while you’re working. It helps.

Second: Beverage of choice.

Not alcoholic, though, you don’t want to inadvertently replace all those hard-earned em dashes with hyphens. 😉

Third: Knowledge.

Knowledge is power. Know the ins and outs of proper English formatting before you publish something you cringe about later.

Fourth: Good software.

I am currently using Atticus for the first time, and so far, I HIGHLY recommend it. Don’t waste your time on a very technical software that you don’t really want to learn.

Fifth: Patience.

PLEASE, leave yourself enough time for this critical (if boring) stage. Your book is make-or-break at this point.

Keep in mind, if you don’t have the time or ability to format your book for self-publishing, you can locate someone on Fiverr who can. My mother did that for her book, so keep it as an option.

I’ll get to some of the very critical (specific) details of formatting in part two. Stay tuned!

Daican’s Heir OUT NOW!

You guys, I am so psyched for the release of the sixth and final book in the Ilyon Chronicles series.

I have been in love with this series a very long time, and Jaye’s writing had a profound impact on mine when I was just starting.

So, let’s get into it! (There’s an epic giveaway, so stay tuned for that.)

Blurb

For three years, the Resistance has suffered under oppression—first from Emperor Daican and now from his daughter. In her quest for vengeance, Davira has ripped Arcacia apart, and more blood is spilled every day. Newly married, all Jace and Kyrin want is to be able to live their lives in peace. In order to do that, they must help restore the rightful heir to Arcacia’s throne.

Carrying the weight of everyone’s hopes for the future, Daniel works every day to be the leader and king they have all fought so hard to see him become. With the Resistance and their allies from all across Ilyon united behind him, he prepares for a final confrontation with Davira. But to do so will require facing the full might of Arcacia’s military and Davira’s wrath.

When Jace and Kyrin become the primary targets of her ravenous hatred, Daniel finds himself in a race against time to stop his sister and avoid the bloodbath she is determined to unleash. Can he find a way to protect his loved ones and bring peace to Ilyon or will Davira succeed in bringing them all to their knees and destroying everything they hold dear?

Purchase Links

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BN26TZMJ

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BVDV1ZBK

Autographed Paperback: https://nerdcatcreations.com/products/pre-order-daicans-heir-book-6-autographed

Giveaway

To celebrate the release, Jaye giving away an autographed copy of Daican’s Heir, a Jace Funko Pop, a dragon bookmark by @lydiasvintage, and an Ilyon Chronicles t-shirt. The giveaway is open February 17-24. It is only open in the US.

Follow the links to enter!

https://www.instagram.com/jayelknight

https://www.facebook.com/jayelknight

Wow. What an awesome giveaway to celebrate the end of a magnificent series!

If you have not read Ilyon Chronicles yet, PLEASE do yourself a favor. It is outstanding. You can be sure I’ll be posting my review of book six when I get my hands on it. 😍

What Are We Holding Onto?

Right before Christmas of 2022, two of our family members passed away. It put the holiday season in a strange and dimmed light.

As I contemplated the far-reaching effects of what had happened, I found enormous solace in the reminder that God is still sovereign, still above it all. And yet I found myself asking a funny question.

“Why did God put people on Earth? Why didn’t He bring time to an end long ago?”

There may be many chapters in our lives in which pain is the narrator. Loss makes for some empty pages. We push on because we know the book isn’t over. Better chapters are to come.

Though I knew this and trusted it, I still wondered: Why has God let human history (past, present, and future) run its course? Our free will invited evil into God’s perfect paradise, yes, but why didn’t He clean the slate and start over?

Finally, the answer came to me, in the form of another question.

“Why does an author write a book?”

Why does an author write hard things? Why does he or she let tragic things happen to the characters we love so much?

And the answer is simple.

Because, somehow, those things are worth it.

Somewhere in the magical pages of that book, the pain, the tears, and the heartache become worth something.

Think about Lord of the Rings. Frodo lost himself, and he asked the question:

Sam answered in words of wisdom.

“A new day will come,” he said. “And when the sun shines, it’ll shine out the clearer.”

God sees the ending of our story. He knows the chapters in which we’ll struggle. But He is weaving hope in the subtext.

Pain is not a destination. Above the dark clouds, no matter how deep, the sun is shining.

Perhaps that is why God, as the first and ultimate Author, created writers. Between the Beginning and Eternity, the written word, in fiction and non-fiction, is there to spur us on to finish the race and finish well. Because we DO have something to hold on to.

Hope.

And joy.

Winter of the Bees COVER REVEAL!

Guys, I am STOKED to be joining in the cover reveal for this sweet middle grade novel from Angela R Watts! What is even better is that Angela is campaigning this book on Kickstarter. So keep reading for more information!

First, the blurb:

Thirteen-year-old Niles Filzbin has a list of problems a mile long: his parents filed bankruptcy, his older sister ran away, he moved in with his whacky grandparents, and he’s stuck tending their farm of magical (or so Grandpa says) bees. One problem quickly tops the list–Grandpa is dying. 

Niles is running out of time to help his family, and learn about Grandpa’s stories that may hold the secret to Niles’s future, too. While the bees know that winter holds no good thing, Niles misses their warning. But maybe magic can be found in even the darkest of places… And maybe, just maybe, Niles isn’t as alone as he feels.

Winter of the Bees follows an ordinary boy who must learn to say goodbye to people he loves… with the help of extraordinary bees.

KICKSTARTER LINK

AUTHOR BIO

ANGELA R. WATTS is the bestselling and award-nominated author of The Infidel Books and the Remnant Trilogy. She’s been writing stories since she was little, and has over 23 works in print. She also writes articles for a few magazines and publishers. Angela is a freelance editor, blogger, and artist. She lives in Tennessee with her family and many pets.

Website Facebook Instagram Amazon

.

.

.

.

Ready for the cover?

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

*melts*

I love that cover. 😍 What is not to love?

And I made a little promotional graphic for it myself . . .

All right, guys! Go check out this project on Kickstarter! It is currently 63% funded. Let’s get it to 100%!!