Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Guest Blogger, Cassandra Jade

Please join me in giving a warm welcome to author Cassandra Jade as the special guest blogger here today at Thoughts in Progress as she makes a stop on her virtual blog tour.

Cassandra’s current release is DEATH’S DAUGHTER. She’s here today to talk about ‘Origin of an Idea.’

Thanks Mason for hosting me today.

Today I wanted to talk about ideas and where they come from. It seems people can’t help themselves, when they find out you write, one of their first three questions is always, “Where do you get your ideas?” The other two being, “What do you write?” and “Where do you find the time?”

So where do ideas come from?

They might come from the idea fairy. You know the one. She flitters around with a bag full of notions and occasionally she throws them at people. You can tell when someone has been struck by a notion because a glittering light bulb appears above their head.

Then again, maybe not.

I’m going to be perfectly honest, I don’t know where my ideas come from. I know that I draw some things from my life. I know that I do borrow small bits and pieces from things I’ve seen and heard and read. I also know that some of the things that end up in my writing, I just do not know where they came from.

Instead of trying to answer the question, where do I get my ideas, I am going to discuss where Death’s Daughter came from.

I started writing DEATH’S DAUGHTER when I was 17. My protagonist just happens to be a girl of seventeen, about to finish

her years of study and about to pursue a career. Not really very challenging to see where that inspiration came from.

The story is set in society with low level technology, vaguely based on pre-industrial European settlements, but I’m really going to emphasise the vaguely part of that statement. If I look at what I was reading at the time and had been reading through high-school, most of the fantasy I read was set in worlds of carriages and horses, where ladies were expected to be ladies and had many restrictions placed upon them.

What I desperately wanted to avoid was a showdown between good against evil. The one thing that always bothered me about a lot of the fantasy I read as a teenager was that the good guys were good because it was the right thing to do. They went on great quests and through all of these hardships because they knew it was right. My experience with the world and with people is that they do very little because it is right. Most of what they do is motivated by self-interest. Calandra, my protagonist, isn’t ‘good’. She’s very much looking out for her own interests. Those who stand against her are not necessarily ‘evil’. They are simply pursuing goals that are frequently in opposition to Calandra’s goals.

If I think about it carefully, every part of DEATH’S DAUGHTER was drawn from somewhere but when I was writing it, that wasn’t really my concern. I was just creating a story and using the tools available to me to make an interesting story.

So where do your ideas come from? How do you answer this question?

Cassandra, thanks so much for blogging here today. I always enjoy learning where book ideas come from. Sounds like Calandra is an intriguing character.

Now some background on Cassandra. She’s a fantasy author from Australia. You’re welcome to visit her blog, http://cassandrajade.wordpress.com, follow her on twitter, http://twitter.com/darkened_jade and you can check out her book, DEATH’S DAUGHTER at: http://www.lyricalpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1_19&products_id=227



  1. thanks for your candour, Cassandra. I think my answer would be the same. Like a patchwork quilt, you could see the various parts of my fiction as former garments of mine or others but it has become a new thing...

  2. Great post, Cassandra! I'm the same - I've NO clue where my ideas come from!

  3. It is hard to say where ideas come from. I have never set out to write something from a planned out thought. They just pop in my head. :)

    Good post, thanks.

  4. For me, different elements from real life come together and that forms the genesis of a story. Why they form a story I don't know.

    So for example on one day last month I heard a particular song and someone wrote about "games" on their blog. That started a story.

  5. Jan - I like your idea of ideas being like a patchwork quilt. That really is kind of how it happens, taking a piece from here and there and then stitching it all together with a narrative.

  6. My ideas are hitting my brain matter all day every day. They come from all directions, people. TV news even a frog on my house.

  7. Cassandra, thanks for blogging here today. Ideas do come from all over and from so many different things. Best of luck on your tour.

    Hi all, thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful day. I'll try to get by and say hi to everyone but it's going to be a crazy day I can tell already. :)

  8. Mason - Thanks for hosting Cassandra.

    Cassandra - Thanks for sharing your own journey to ideas. It's been fascinating reading about your book, too :-). I agree with you that our thoughts and ideas have all sorts of inspiration. Mine are often a combination of things that have happened that I've witnessed (I think writers really are life's voyeurs ;-) ) and things that I imagine. I know that's not putting it clearly, but it's true.

  9. Thanks for the great post. It's great to hear about the experiences of other writers.

  10. I've been asked that question a lot. I don't know that I could put my finger on it exactly but they come...oh, do they come! Great interview both Mason and Cassandra.


  11. I think my mind has a back room. I send little fragments back there. Then they mingle, ferment or whatever and a story idea pops out eventually. Kind of like a recipe with a bunch of ingredients that you can't possibly imagine will taste good together and the final dish is one of the best things you have ever tasted.

  12. Great post. Death's Daughter sounds interesting.

    My ideas come from wherever. I wake up with them sometimes. A couple ideas were spawned just out people watching at Barnes and Noble and the airport.

    Key is to just be open to ideas and they'll come at you from all directions, I think. :-)

  13. Hey, we get to see a real photo of Cassandra!
    The world is not black and white - it's mostly grey. I like your idea of self-interest motivating the characters.

  14. Lovely post, Cassandra. Thanks for sharing where you get inspiration. :D

  15. How enlightened of you to grasp that so early! I think you're right--for most of us it's hard to identify a particular source BROADLY--I have pieces of stories that are from this dream, or that brainstorm... I think of myself not so much as creative, but as a puzzlemaster--pulling together things in a new way to create a different picture than we've seen before.

  16. I don't know where most of my ideas come from either. They just appear. They're not there, then they are.

  17. I also find this a difficult question to answer as my ideas come from different places – dreams, overhearing a conversation, seeing something or someone unusual, a news story, etc. They all blend together in my manuscripts.

  18. This is a thoughtful, uncommon answer to a much-asked question. Nice job.

    I think a writer's subconscious does things she'll never know about, machinations that spit something out fully formed.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.