Nowadays, there are many authors, evidenced by the number of self-published books that are available. But being an author and knowing how to write a compelling story does not necessarily go hand-in-hand.
As an author, the question I'm asked most often is,"How do you come up with the idea for a book?" Each author obviously has his or her own answer to that question. Mine is very simple: Ideas come to me from everyday things.
Now if there's any confusion on the part of the person asking, they usually follow-up with a query similar to,"Uh, what do you mean by that? Are you saying from all the things you see around you?" It's not really from what I see, but rather from observations that I happen across, like when I'm at a meeting or a social gathering, which triggers my mind that what I observed might be an interesting angle to a story. It happens to me all the time. Typically, I pass the inclination off without any further scrutiny. However, there are instances when my mind starts churning out ideas that start to form the root of a story. If my mind keeps digging into the possibility, characters quickly come to mind, and I start imagining how they would fit into the plot.
Grasping onto a new story idea usually takes only a few minutes, and then my conscious puts the idea someplace in the back of my mind. I know that my subconscious, however, will keep churning the idea over, because the premise of the story will ultimately return to my conscious level and I will again start thinking more about it. I've developed an idea for a book in as little as a week. Other times, it's taken much longer. Currently, I have three ideas for books that I'm considering. One of them I first thought about over three years ago, and am still trying to figure out how I would construct the story. The other two have come to me during the last six months.
Coming up with an idea for a book is definitely critical -- no ideas, no book! But let's assume an idea does come to fruition. Then the real effort starts, which is actually writing the book. And once again, every author has his or her own way of going about that. The first thing I do is write a complete storyline of the plot; all the characters that will be included in the story, the conflict, or conflicts, that will drive the story, and how different aspects of the story will hold together. The storyline lays out the entire foundation of the story from start to finish. That way I have a complete framework to follow, and while I sometimes deviate slightly from the storyline when I'm writing, because new ideas or characters come to mind, I will never leave it totally because it is the overall roadmap of how I get from A to Z.
I believe writers are artists, and artists tend to draw from the emotional side of themselves and life in general. And that's where I enjoy being when I write -- the emotional, creative, free flowing side of my brain. My unrestrained emotions take the logical instructions of the storyline and begin creating an artistically inspired story that I hope readers will enjoy.
So if you happen to have a desire to write, then by all means do it, and write as much and as often as you can. I believe you'll enjoy the experience.
Author of "Unrelenting Nightmare"
- The Price of Admission
- Hostile Takeover (soon to be released)
Stan Yocum uses years of corporate business experience and his storytelling background from his theatre experience for inspiration in his writing. He also raises and trains assistance dogs for Canine Companions for Independence. Yocum is married with two daughters and resides in Palos Verdes, California. For more information, visit: www.stanyocum.com
"Unrelenting Nightmare" follows Stuart Garrison, a virtual reality software developer on the cusp of industry domination, as he navigates a deadly cat-and-mouse game with an international assassin hired by his fierce competitor. The stakes are high, as Garrison tries to outwit his clever potential killer while releasing an innovative new technology to the world.
Milton Gross Book review: "Unrelenting Nightmare" by Stan Yocum
May 18, 2014
If you like action, complicated plots, lots of action and killings beyond count, and a satisfactory romantic ending, Unrelenting Nightmare will be a great book for you. The plot, somewhat complicated, is of two industrial rivals of Stuart Garrison, the software developer, who plan to take over Garrison's company and make millions of dollars from the sale of Garrison's software development. The two hire Nomed -- "demon" spelled backwards -- to assissinate Garrison.
By Stan Yocum
Available in softcover, hardcover, e-book
Publicity details at Magic City March 30, 2014