Sources of Inspiration

Mathiya Adams, October 20, 2015

A lot of people try to help me write my murder mysteries. They offer me suggestions on how a crime should be committed, who the villain should be, and sometimes who the victim should be. While I find many of these contributions interesting, and sometimes of great value, I also find that I do not have a lack of everyday things to inspire me in my pursuit of the perfect crime story.

The starting point for many of my mystery scenarios is the title of the book itself. As an example, one day I was watching a wrecking ball operator demolish a building. I, along with a bunch of kids on their way to school, a couple of homeless people with nothing better to do, and an occasional passer-by, watched with fascination as the operator slammed the ball against the walls of the building, each crash exploding in the morning rush hour traffic. Imagine our surprise when the operator finally finished, and exiting the cab of the crane, turned out to be a woman.

The homeless people gave her a cheer of encouragement, and I must admit I felt a surge of pride in the destructive capabilities of the gentler sex.

And thus was born the story of the Busty Ballbreaker.

Realizing that the scene of the story would be a construction site helped unravel a whole skein of threads to the story: corporate embezzlement, whistle-blowing, conspirators killing off potential witnesses.

All it takes to create a good story is a seed that can germinate and produce a robust plant.

While visiting my daughter and her kids, I watched them playing Minecraft on their computers. My son-in-law jokingly said, “One of your stories should be called ‘The Missing Miner,’ about child who claims that something terrible happened to his friend on Minecraft. The possible plot twists began to grow faster than a Minecraft build.

Most writers I have met have no problems coming up with ideas for plots. It’s what you do when you’re a writer. The challenge is taking those ideas and tying them together, with characters, theme, story structure, and scene into a story people will want to read.

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