Hello, Lisette and her readers―and thank you so much for stopping by on the blog tour for Hope!
Lisette gave me free rein on subject matter for this article … which always makes my mind go completely blank. Then, the other day, I found my topic quite by accident when a reader asked me this question: Where do you get your ideas from?
Writers are often asked this, by readers, or by new writers who are putting fingers to keys for the first time. I shy away when asked in person, as I was the other day, as I find talking about what I do quite difficult; I say something like, ‘I dunno, it just happens’. Writing about it, though, is so much easier.
The truth is that ideas come from all sorts of places. The easiest, for me, was The Devil You Know, which came from the title of another book: The Serial Killer’s Wife. I saw it during an Amazon browse, and thought, wow―what it would be like to fear that the monster in the newspapers was your husband, or your son, or friend? The plot, and even the title and some of the main characters, appeared in my head, just like that.
It’s rarely that easy, though, and Hope was one of those that took me a long time to pull together in my mind.
A subject that interests me greatly is how the our thoughts are influenced by the media, especially what we see on social media sites, and how attitudes follow trends, and can be cyclical. One day, out of the blue, I began to wonder if there would ever be a backlash against the way that ‘fat-shaming’ is now such a no-no. Instead of the Dove cosmetics ethos of ‘everyone is beautiful in their own way’, which was maybe a reaction to the ‘size zero’ fad of the noughties, I considered how today’s young women would react if―as was the case when I was a teenager―fashion shops sold no size higher than a 14 (US size 10), and if even this size 14 was inches smaller than it is now.
Then I thought: what if fat-shaming became the norm? Would people be considered unemployable if they were ‘plus-size’? Could this prejudice be used as a tool by government and employers, in a world only a decade into the future when so many jobs will be lost through increased automation? If many people were unable to find work, for this reason and that of the downturn in employment opportunities, how would they live?
I had the beginning of a plot!
My books are always totally character driven, so I needed an observer who would watch all this coming to fruition―and, in my future UK, who better than a popular blogger and social media influencer? Lita Stone arrived in my head fully formed, with even her name attached; it happens like that, sometimes. Next, she would need what she saw in the online world to start affecting her personally―enter the ‘plus-size’ flatmate.
I had a great deal of trouble with the first draft of the book; I’d let it head off in directions that weren’t working, and I nearly scrapped it at 50K words in, but a discussion with my husband helped to streamline the plot. He asked me these two questions: Who is the bad guy? What is the struggle? It was only when I worked this out that the book fell back on track. I’m so glad we had that talk, because I believe Hope to be one of my best books.
If you’re at any stage of your writing career and are about to abandon a book because it’s not working, try discussing it with someone, because it really can help―and if you’re not a writer but a reader, believe me: those plots sometimes arrive out of nowhere, but, more often than not, they take a hell of a lot of mulling over before they hit the page!
Thank you, Lisette, for inviting me to your blog. 🙂
Terry Tyler’s nineteenth published work is a psychological thriller set in a dystopian near future – the UK, Year 2028.
Blogger Lita Stone and journalist Nick Freer live and work online, seeing life through soundbites, news TV and social media. Keeping the outside world at bay in their cozy flat, they observe the ruthless activities of the new PM and his celebrity fitness guru wife, Mona (#MoMo), with the mild outrage that can be quelled simply by writing another blog post.
Meanwhile, in the outside world, multinational conglomerate Nutricorp is busy buying up supermarket chains, controlling the media, and financing the new compounds for the homeless: the Hope Villages.
Lita and Nick suspect little of the danger that awaits the unfortunate, until the outside world catches up with them – and Lita is forced to discover a strength she never knew she possessed.
About the Author
Terry Tyler is the author of nineteen books available from Amazon, the latest being Hope, a dystopian psychological drama set in the UK, a decade into the future. She is currently at work on Blackthorn, a post-apocalyptic stand-alone story set in her fictional city of the same name. Proud to be independently published, Terry is an avid reader and book reviewer, and a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.
Terry is a Walking Dead addict, and has a great interest in history, (particularly 14th-17th century), and sociological/cultural/anthropological stuff, generally. She loves South Park, Netflix, autumn and winter, and going for long walks in quiet places where there are lots of trees. She lives in the north east of England with her husband.
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