Wednesday, August 2, 2017

How did you come up with the idea for your most recent work-in-progress?

Hi, everyone. *Jill waves both hands and smiles* I can't believe we've made it to August already. Man! I hate how fast the summer tends to fly by. My kids start school this month, which means I'm going to have to start getting up SO EARLY!

*weeps*

But there are still good times to be had! Writers' conferences to attend. I had the privilege of teaching a teen track at this year's Realm Makers conference. It was a blast. I met SO MANY young writers--and a dozen or so who had been a part of Go Teen Writers or still are. Several adults also told me they secretly follow GTW and read our posts. I took pictures with as many people as I could. Realm Makers is a fabulous conference for those of us who write speculative fiction (any weird genre). I highly recommend checking them out.

And now I must share some pictures. If you want to see more, including pics with me and my author friends, check out the more in-depth blog post I wrote on my author blog.




Something new this conference, my husband came with. He has been writing for years. He has written screenplays, four and a half novels, and lots of plays and skits. The conference inspired him. He came home and started editing one of his novels. He also started a new screenplay. Time will tell if the writing bug is permanent, but it was a lot of fun to have him with me, seeing a bit of my world. He writes under the pen name Casey Oswald, so if you see Casey around, that's him.

Something else cool about Realm Makers, I got to cosplay with my husband. How did we look?



Okay, enough of all that. Let's get back to business as usual.





We have a fun question today on the blog, and I'm really looking forward to reading all of your responses. In case you're new, we're doing Q & A panels on the blog this summer. Each day we post a question, we all write our answer, then we ask you to post your answer in the comments.

Please participate! The more the merrier.





How did you come up with the idea for your most recent work-in-progress?


Shannon Dittemore
Well! My family and I had done the Disneyland at Christmastime thing and we were driving home on Highway 99. If you haven’t driven from NorCal to SoCal down this corridor, you’re missing out. It’s all stinky cows and big rigs. But! It has more rest stops than I5 and when you have kids in the car, rest stops are king. So! We’re driving down the stinky highway and we’re surrounded by big rigs and I started thinking about how being a trucker is such a lifestyle commitment. I mean, you’re out on the road non-stop, away from your family, dealing with weather and road conditions. And then I remembered that show on the History channel: Ice Road Truckers. I’d seen a commercial for it that involved a female rig driver and, as all good commercials do, it had me begging to know what kind of danger she’d just put herself in. That thought slamming me as I’m driving home from a very Elsa-Anna-Olaf kind of vacation, had me wondering just how dangerous rig driving would be if the ice roads were laced with magic. From there, my current work in progress was born. 


Stephanie Morrill
I was listening to a Stuff You Missed in History Podcast on Executive Order 9066, which was the order that sent Japanese Americans to concentration camps during WWII. I thought, “What if you were a Caucasian teenage girl in love with a Japanese American boy?” and the story unfolded from there.





Jill Williamson
I am so excited to read Shannon and Stephanie's new books. I can't even tell you how excited. Gah! Waiting is torture . . .

My most recent work-in-progress is the Kinsman Chronicles. Here is how I came up with it: In my Blood of Kings trilogy, I mentioned that hundreds of years ago Arman (who represents God) bestowed the telepathic magic of bloodvoicing upon those with royal blood when the kings first came to the land of Er’Rets. That got me thinking where these ancient kings had come from and why they’d left their homeland. I started playing around with the idea of a prequel series, and I was hooked. 


What about you? How did you come up with the idea for your most recent work-in-progress?


66 comments:

  1. Well, a lot of ideas that I start to write down just kind of flow out of me from a simple thought. My most serious WIP, which has been three years in the making, came from a conversation with my dad. It was a political conversation. I'm very passionate about politics and we were talking outside. It was hot because it was an August evening in the south. He said something that triggered a thought in my mind of what I would learn is called a dystopian book. I've never looked back. Its been tough, but now I'm working on book two as I get ready for my Alpha reader to read book one.

    (p.s, I think I see one of my blogger peeps, Audrey Caylin, in the pictures. So cool. Looked like fun. :) )

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    1. I saw both her and Mary Horton :) It looks awesome.

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    2. I've never seen Mary Horton's blog. At least I don't think. I jump around to lots of blogs so its possible I have. It does look awesome, though. I'm not really into cosplay, but I bet it was still fun. :D

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    3. It's called Subshine and Scribblings :)

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    4. Okay, thank you. I'll go check it out. :)
      It sounds familiar, honestly.
      Thanks again, Faith.

      iviewrites.blogspot.com

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    5. I love how an idea can come from something so simple, Ivie. Thanks for sharing. Also, the cosplay at this conference is totally optional. I'd guess that 2/3 of the people were dressed in some kind of costume. The rest wore regular clothes. :-)

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    6. I think its still a fun idea. I like dressing up, I just don't know what I would dress up as.

      Thank you for replying! <3

      iviewrites.blogspot.com

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  2. I just went through a huge depressive writing slump, and I was ready to work on something new. A while ago I saw a book called "Write Your Novel from the Middle" -- I didn't actually read the book, but I thought it was a great idea and decided to try it in my own way. Plot has never been my strong point and I tend to have sagging middles, so maybe if came up with a midpoint before a beginning and end it would be stronger. So, I randomly wrote a 200 word story of a girl at a low point. After that, I started brainstorming who she was, how she got there, and how it ended. Then it all clicked and the plot hit me. (I now have almost 40k of brainstorming, prewriting, character building, and plotting!)

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    1. I love that book! It's short, but I would definitely recommend it. It's a fascinating idea, and I'm glad it's working for you so far! Good luck with your project.

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    2. Ooh, thank you! I'll have to read it now.

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    3. I've heard of writing the middle first. That is so neat you were able to try it!

      -Ann

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    4. What an interesting way to start a book, Josie!

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  3. My current WIPs? I have three. Oh boy.

    The Christian dystopia was inspired by a trip to Washington, D.C., where I was imagining how easy it would be to hide a bunch of people in the Jefferson Memorial if you were starting a revolt. I was reading a biography about Bonhoeffer at the time, and when you combined the two (D.C. in the future with Bonhoeffer and a Christian uprising against evil and corrupt government) you get a Christian dystopia. Obviously the story has changed a LOOOOOOOT since then, but that was the inspiration.

    The second WIP originally came into being about eight years ago when I was a petite young child and I wanted to write a Lord of the Rings rip-off. (And it was such a ripoff, down to the smallest detail of the plot.) It has evolved so much since then it's not even funny. None of the characters are the same, not one plot detail has remained solid, but... it's still such a better story.

    Then my third WIP is a Snow White retelling for a contest, that basically was inspired by the amount of poison in the original fairy tale.

    Your stories have the coolest inspirations! I can't wait to read your books!

    thefloridsword.blogspot.com

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    1. Your dystopian sounds awesome. I'm kind of doing the same thing. And the snow white retelling sounds awesome, too.
      I've never watched/read Lord of the Rings. I made the mistake of saying so to Catherine and Gray. Gray gathered a mob. With pitchforks. It was scary. XD

      But, at least it inspired you. I'm sure its awesome. <3 <3

      iviewrites.blogspot.com

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    2. Cool! All three piqued my interest.

      And imitation is the best form of flattery, right? ;) Someday I'm going to have to read Lord of the Rings, if I can get over the creepiness of Smeagol...

      -Ann

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    3. Good job looking for ideas everywhere, Florid. Those are great!

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    4. Thanks, Jill!

      Haha, Gray is scary when she's mad, Ivie. That would be a bad thing to happen. You should probably try reading it sometime, though. *puppy dog eyes*

      @Ann he's kind of creepy, although the book is definitely better for that than the movies...

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  4. Well...Um let's see. I have one story that I am currently working on, but it's not my most recent by a long shot. My most recent is a fairytale retelling in the planning stage (even though I don't plan) with most of the well-known princesses in wartime. I got the inspiration from reading about the contests that were going on, although mine doesn't qualify because it's about all of them.
    I also don't tend to have a genre that I write in. Several of mine are different, like I have a fairytale retelling, a couple adventures and two or three dystopian.

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    1. I bounce genres too. :) Your scenario sounds fun!

      -Ann

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  5. My WIP came to life because of my superhero obsession. I was really interested (and still am) in possible real-life repercussions of humans having super powers and how that could affect life as we know it, so I wondered what would happen if a powerful enough person lost control and actually destroyed most of the world.

    The result is pretty interesting, and I'm very proud of it. It's the first project I think I'll actually finish, which is really exciting. Plus, the world building is so much fun!

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    1. Aw, that would be awful for that person to have to live with! But sounds interesting. :)

      Who is your favorite superhero?

      -Ann

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    2. Ooh, I'm in love with this idea, because your first sentence (of humans having super powers and the repercussions) is part of what is fueling my WIP. I think it veered off more into minority issues/prejudice/etc but that was a bit of the starting point.

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    3. Thanks guys!

      Ann, my favorite is Captain America, but it's so hard to pick!

      Cassandra, that's so cool we started with the same basic idea! Good luck with yours. I love stories about super humans and how society feels about them, but I felt like there's already so many great ideas out there about that scenario, and I couldn't come up with a new one that interested me enough to write about it. I'm really glad you did! I know I'll definitely continue to write about super humans, so maybe I'll try one day.

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    4. I really like the sound of that idea, Lillian! Superheroes can make such interesting material and definitely be cool to see what happened if one of them basically destroyed the world

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    5. @Lillian: Good answer. It's not a hard pick for me. I'm Team Cap all the way. :)

      -Ann

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  6. The one that I just wrote for Camp Nanowrimo was inspired by watching Beauty in the Beast. In the beginning, the prince is surrounded by a bunch of beautiful women, and I thought, what if you were one of them? And what if you had joined to find a potential date not in the prince, but in one of the ladies by your side? The story changed a lot over the course of the month, but that was the original inspiration.

    -novelistinthedark

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  7. It always starts with a broken character who introduces himself and hangs out with me for a while. For my current WIP, it was a disabled young man with guilt who yearns to make up for the past. I then asked, how could I make his life even more miserable?

    The answer, put him in a world that constantly reminds and mocks him about his own limitations until he believes he can never amount to anything. I chose WW2, a time when all the men his age are going out to be heroes, while he's stuck behind with the onslaught of recruiting posters and such. The scenario would tear him up inside, so I had to do it to him.

    Hopefully when all this is over, he'll thank me someday.

    -Ann

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    1. Same...everything starts with a character for me.

      That really reminds me of the Captain America movies....I love it <3

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    2. That sounds really cool! How is he disabled, and what's wrong with his past???

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    3. Love that, Ann. What a clever way to start.

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    4. @Cassandra: Ha, I was thinking about Cap when writing the comment. Unfortunately, my character isn't as plucky. :(

      @Lillian: He had polio that stunted the growth of his right leg, so he has to walk with a cane. As for his past, he's sworn me to secrecy. ;)

      Thank you everyone for the nice comments!

      -Ann

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  8. The conference looks like such fun, and those are cool outfits, Mrs. Williamson. :)

    Someday I'll be able to attend some of these!

    -Ann

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    1. Yes, you will! Keep an eye out for a conference in your area. Then you can save some $$.

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  9. A friend of mine sent me a writing prompt, "There's too much time cannot erase. I'm going back. I have no choice" at about the same time I got involved with a living-history group. The main character has changed a bit since the original idea, and she does have more of a choice than originally appeared, but she's still a modern girl involved in re-creating the early Middle Ages, who gets to go back in time to her period.

    Realm Makers looks like so much fun! I so want to go next year. . . we'll see if I can get the money.

    https://ofdreamsandswords.wordpress.com

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    1. That sounds really neat! Time travel constantly fascinates me. I'm really interested in why she gets to "recreate" the Middle Ages.

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    2. Fun, Sophia! I love time travel too. :-)

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    3. Lillian, she's in a living-history group, called the SCA, which is officially an educational organization dedicated to teaching the arts, crafts, fighting styles, and ways of living of the Middle Ages through hands-on stuff. So you learn about medieval clothes by making and wearing them, or medieval combat by making armour and fighting in it. When a bunch of us get together, it looks a lot like the Middle Ages came back to life. So that's what the MC and I have in common.

      Yes, time-travel is fascinating! Headachy sometimes, but still lots of fun.

      https://ofdreamsandswords.wordpress.com

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  10. ahhh, my current WIP is a mixture of many things that I love, namely; spying, snow, the mountains, a bunch of personal issues, and constantly at odds, lashing personalities. it came to me in stages. first was the setting and the main character, that came when i read a fantasy novel where there was a passing mention of an elite school for the highly talented, set in the mountains, away. the school and it's description evoked something in me, and for me, it became one of the key settings. the main female character is herself a WIP, first inspired by a lead fantasy character, with her strength and sassiness, and then by a mentally ill character from an indie lgbtq+ ya sports book trilogy, and then now, she's boiled down to some sort of mixture of the two, without the mental illness ( i would only make her mentally ill when other aspects of her [personality are well-fleshed out.) the relationship between some characters', particularly a pair of brothers and their father, is inspired by the messy relationship ship between some of my favorite male characters, but i'm discovering that as i write, the dynamics are turning about to be so much more different than what i intended. but i'm definitely enjoying those surprises!

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    1. I find that my stories change when I write my first drafts. But I figure as long as I'm still inspired, it's all good!

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  11. I just started on the idea I got from Ted Dekker's keynote xD The idea actually originated from random midnight inspiration and a spider hiding out in my notebook.

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    1. Ooh, fun! Hope it goes well and the words fly off the page!

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  12. The inspiration for my most recent work-in-progress came from a simple phrase, as is often the case for me. This phrase was in relation to a character in a game one of my siblings and I were playing--I said he was "the last pyromancer," and that caught my imagination, which lead of course to a book about a man who has such a title.

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  13. soo, I have a couple WIPs. :) The first one came after reading Morgan Matson's "Amy and Roger's Epic Detour". I liked the concept of a road trip, and then I thought how fun it would be if me and my three friends (including my brother :) went on a road trip. Aaaand that's how it was born. :)
    The second one came from the beginning of an Andrew Klavan book (the first Homelanders) and I thought about how different it might be if the main character was a girl. And then it took a Jason Bourne turn. :)
    But I'm kinda a weird writer--I like coming up with unique titles, and then trying to find a story or concept to fit the title. :)

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    1. Great ideas, Allison. I love the female Jason Bourne idea.

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    2. Cool ideas, Allison! I do the same thing. My current WIP is based off its title too. :)

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  14. Oh yay,I love telling people how I came up with story ideas!!
    My current WIP began when I was browsing Pinterest. I stumbled upon a picture of several characters someone had made up, and I was immediately intrigued, because somehow I could look at the picture and tell exactly what each character was like, just from the artist's portrayal of them. I jotted down a few ideas and then moved on to other things, but then when I showed the picture to a friend, we decided to plan a story around it. Together we came up with names and character traits (and her ideas were surprisingly very similar to my initial ones) and a premise for the story. I wrote the first draft for NaNoWriMo. Now I'm in the middle of the rewrite. I'm super excited for it, because I didn't I would actually be able to stick with it this long! The title is "Twelve"... because there are twelve characters, twelve fantasy realms, and twelve sacred artifacts.

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    1. That sounds like so much fun, Talia! My book has fantasy realms too, lol. YOUR BOOK SOUNDS LIKE AWESOMENESS.

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  15. My WIP came around from me thinking about how it would be a neat idea to do a sci-fi book with a Star Wars feel, yet a different plot, and that happened in this galaxy, thousands of years later from now.
    this is the synopsis: Toran Rashnar is a soldier in the "mighty" Galactic Space Armada (GSA), when he finds out that an alien army from another galaxy is forming to attack. he is blown off by the chain of command (or so he thinks), but leads a force of soldiers on a mission to stop the aliens anyway.
    now he must save the galaxy, and evade the GSA, while still keeping the hopes of his men up.

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    1. That sounds really interesting-- I tend to love books about rebels and those parentheses make it sound even more intriguing.
      -novelistinthedark

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  16. My newest WIP is inspired by the title (Scars). My thought process went something like, "what if there was a book called Scars? What would it be about? Why would it be called that?" And now i have this really cool futuristic/dystopian/science fiction/fantasy idea im trying to develop. Its probably going to be the weirdest book I've ever written. XD

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  17. Oh my gosh, I wish I had a clever story for this one! But I'm revisiting an idea I had way back when I first started writing Christian teen fiction ... one that I'm sure Jill will remember well! But I'm making so many changes that the only part that remains the same are the character names and their basic identities. I guess I can say that the original idea came from God. I'm not joking. It's the reason I started writing for teens. So here's my author testimony:
    I was a science fiction/fantasy artist and wannabe writer (aka author of a never-ending elf novel) when I went through a rough patch in life and ended up giving that life to Christ. Afterwards, I spent about four years not writing any fiction or doing much artwork. I felt like the Lord was telling me that I needed to know him before I could write about him. So I spent those four years growing in my faith. Then one day I watched a disturbing story about teenagers on television, which caused me some dismay. My daughter was eleven years old then. I prayed, asking God what I could do that I wasn't already doing to prepare my baby girl for the world she was about to enter. That very night I had characters and setting and the basic plot line for the book that would eventually lead me to publication and a new career. And to meet my good friend, Jill! While that book wasn't my debut novel, and it has taken me many years to get back to those characters, and so much has changed from the original idea to what I'm working on now, I can say that yes, the original idea was a gift.

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    1. Whoa. Jill. Do you realize this was something like twelve years ago?

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  18. one of my WIPs was inspired by, of all things, Gollum from the Lord of the Rings. When I first read and watched it, I was fascinated by Gollum's split personality that made him both Sméagol (a sweet hobbit creature who could almost be said to love Frodo) and Gollum (a murderous sneaking horrific 'thing'). It gave me this idea of a superhero who was also the villain, but didn't know it. I knew this character would wear black and white and would be fighting against himself, but for more than a year it just floated around in my head, until I finally figured out who this person was and what had happened to them. then I started writing.

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  19. I just thought of another passion of mine, which is art, and figured how I could write a book with that as a theme. My character, Piper, is a local artist, who travels all the way to NY, with her best friend, Josh, in order to raise money to save her mother's life.
    Or something with that jist, I just started yesterday!

    BTW, your husband and you are so cute in your costumes! I love cosplay, I'm usually Bellatrix from Harry Potter.

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    1. Sounds awesome, Gray. I love the names of the characters and the theme. It sounds amazing. (I'm still looking for better adjectives. I need a thesaurus, lol.) Now, would this happen to be inspired by the art snippet on your post?

      God bless you! <3 <3

      iviewrites.blogspot.com

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  20. What a great question!
    I got the idea for my current WIP from several things. One night, I couldn't sleep, so I was making up a really dramatic good-bye scene, and that got me thinking. Then I discovered NaNoWriMo (in late October), and in my frantic search for an idea I combined that good-bye with some of my own experiences at the time (we'd moved and I was having a bit of a rough time). And, well, then NaNoWriMo happened and after that I had a 50,000-word story about rebels, elves, and a bunch of characters who really wanted to just go home.

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  21. I entered the Camp NaNoWriMo. Since I wanted to write something besides a mystery, I turned to baseball. I wanted a teen drama, which would take place in a couple of the places I've been.

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  22. I think I first got the idea from picture prompts on Instagram. Mix this with many long bus rides home from school, and the ideas and tiny stories began to lace themselves together into my WIP today. :) I find music really helps me flesh out a story and understand my characters from different points of view in the first draft stages.

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  23. My current WIP came from a vague idea to write a story about someone who was NOT special and that's what made them the hero. (which was inspired by reading this http://aimeemeesterwrites.blogspot.com/2015/09/why-i-hate-chosen-one-cliche.html) In this story it's normal for everyone to have powers, and there are some who don't, and it's treated like a disability. But it's the fact that they don't have powers that ends up making them the ones to save the world. I really love this particular story. :D

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  24. Conference was so fun! And ready to go to another ;)

    Most of my ideas come to me as I'm cleaning house. I do a lot of cleaning ;p My Cinderella novel idea came to me when I read the original story....kinda went crazy then ;) And then my next novel - based on and idea I had when I was younger, then life experiences filled in the details. It will be a story of me figuring out my own life as I write it ;p

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