Inspiration: Where Do Stories Come From?

Stories. Where do they come from? What is that one spark that makes you traverse the long, windy road that is a completed story, whether it’s a poem, flash fiction, short fiction, or series of novels? That idea has to come from somewhere, right? It’s a question that authors get all the time during interviews and to be completely honest, that one “aha” moment can come from anything, anywhere, anytime.

Sometimes it’s a location that jogs the creativity. Or that couple walking down the street hand-in-hand. Sometimes it’s as simple as a sense-memory from your childhood or a dream or another book. Sometimes you have a really great one-liner that you just can’t stop thinking about. Sometimes—like in the case for Suzanne Collins—it came come from simply flipping through TV channels. Sometimes—like in the case for J.K. Rowling—a fully fleshed character walks into your mind like they’ve been there for years.

So, really, that spark of inspiration can come from anything, anywhere, anytime, and that’s the excitement of being a writer. You never know when an idea will smack you across the face and demand you pay attention. It can be the littlest of things that makes your creativity churn.

Case in point, here’s where the spark for the entire Cicatrix Duology came from. I had a short story due for my undergraduate writing club and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what to write about. Completely stumped. Then, these three simple lines popped into my head:

“We have come to collect you, Mia.” Her left hand twitched. “We have come.”

That’s it. Not the scifi aspect. Not the plotline. Not even Mia herself. Just those three little lines. But those were enough to spiral my creativity into overdrive and start asking questions. Who wanted her? What’s with her left hand? How long had she been running? Why was she running? After that, the scifi aspect clicked into place, then the scar, then the character, then…well…everything else.

So here’s a little tip: Pay Attention. Write those things down. Even if you can’t get to the idea right now, put it in a ToWrite folder and save it for later. You never know when you’ll want to come back to it.

If you’d like to read the Cicatrix Duology, you can get Finding Hekate here and the (newly published!!) Losing Hold here.

Until next time!
Warm regards,
Kellie

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How The Heck Do You Name Your MC?

So, you have a great story. A plot that’ll throw readers out of their seats. A main set of characters that are relatable and funny and unique. A twisted villain that straddles the line between true darkness and having a reason why they’re doing their evil deeds. You might even have a title for this masterpiece. But then you stop and realize: you don’t have a name for your main characters. What are you supposed to call them? What name would hold the mantle of the story? What should the minor characters shout as they claim victory?

Some authors have no issues finding the right name for their characters. Some authors spend days or months trying to find the right one. I belong in the “days or months” category. It takes me ages to figure out a name that I like, but because of that I’ve developed a set of tools that helps me. Maybe you could use those tools, too? Here are three ways I discover my character names like the ones in my Cicatrix Duology:

Try To Determine What They Represent In The Story
This is an old technique but I use it all the freaking time. Is your character brave? Strong? Shifty? Honorable? Scary, maybe? I used this for both my Across the Stars business owner Cassidy Gates and the big baddies Acedians (not a single character but are important enough they are a single big-bad entity). I knew Cassidy would be smart and independent and more clever than Mia, she’d be able to see through Mia’s ruse in a way no one else could, so I researched those traits and found her name. For the Acedians, I wanted to reflect their last stage, where the human part of them is taken away and they’re basically a shell for Donavin’s use. Adecia means “apathetic” and worked perfectly.

Pick Them Because Of An Inside Joke
Now don’t walk away from this or scoff. It’s a weird way of thinking, but my spaceship captain Mia Foley falls into this category. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to name her, and originally it had been Maria but then I kept on thinking of the song from Sound of Music and kept humming “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria” in my head whenever her name came up. (Spoiler: In the two books, her name comes up a lot.) It wasn’t working out. So I thought about her story, about her past, her capture, her running, her always trying to stay one step ahead. And then it hit me, she literally tried to be M.I.A. (missing in action) after blowing up every ship. I realize it’s not the standard military way of using it (where it explains a missing person after a battle) but she tried to disappear. It made me chuckle and when I wrote her name in the story, it just worked.

Try One Of Those Name Generators
I really enjoy combing through the random name generators to find unique names for my characters – like Nin, who you’ll meet in Losing Hold. I never use the actual names that pop up but I like combining certain vowel sounds I see and figure out if it works, especially for last names or fantasy names.

Those are my tricks of the trade. What are some of yours? Leave a comment!

Hope you’re having a lovely Easter (if you celebrate) and a lovely Sunday (if you don’t)!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Losing Hold Cover Reveal!

Hey everyone! I’ll be hosting a live Facebook Event this Friday to reveal the cover of Losing Hold! I’m pretty psyched about the artwork—spoiler alert: it’s gorgeous—and in order to celebrate I decided to do something a little different and try a live Facebook Event!

What does that mean?
Well, Friday between 7-8pm (PST) I’ll be on my Facebook Event page posting things like what Losing Hold is about and the inspiration for the story, hosting a Q&A session with giveaways (that’s right, free stuff!), and of course, revealing the cover! Basically it’ll be a chance to ask me some questions and be entered to win one of the four giveaways prizes! Speaking of…

What are the Giveaway Prizes?
I’m going to give away two signed copies of Finding Hekate and two 30-page edits from Edit Revise Perfect. I’ll be picking four participants from Q&A at random to win the prizes, so be sure to ask a question to enter!

Here are the specifics one more time!
Friday, February 24th
7-8pm (PST)
On this Cover Reveal Facebook Event Page (be sure to select “Going” to get the notifications!)

I hope to see you there! *waves*
Warm regards,
Kellie

Sci-fi Romance Sweepstakes!

Attention science fiction nerds!!

Sci-Fi-Doherty-Kellie.pngDo you like reading science fiction with a dash of romance thrown in? Well, if so, I have a fun surprise that I’d like to share with you. (If not, the holidays are just around the corner and if you win, you’d have your presents already done!)

To celebrate the end of fall, I’ve teamed up with more than 60 lovely science fiction romance authors to give away a huge collection of novels, PLUS a Kindle Fire to one lucky winner!

You can win my novel FINDING HEKATE, plus books from authors like Sharon Lynn Fisher and Veronica Scott.

Enter the giveaway by clicking here: bit.ly/sci-fi-rom

Good luck!
Warm regards,
Kellie

#FavoriteSciFiStory – Last Day To Enter!

Hey guys!

I’m doing a bunch of social media giveaways—one on Instagram, one on Twitter, and one on Facebook—for free signed copies of Finding Hekate, three total. I wanted to share the love of science fiction by having this giveaway feature the hashtag #FavoriteSciFiStory.

SciFi.jpg

There’s only one day left to enter, so do it soon! Here are some specific information about how to enter for each platform as well as a link:

Twitter – Tweet what your favorite science fiction story is and why, use the hashtag #FavoriteSciFiStory, and tag me at @Kellie_Doherty.

Facebook – Like and Comment on the #FavoriteSciFiStory post about what your favorite science fiction story is and why.

Instagram – Like and Comment on the #FavoriteSciFiStory post about what your favorite science fiction story is and why.

Sooooo….go do it right now! The contest ends at midnight today, and I’ll pick the winners and announce them tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon. I look forward to reading the responses and sharing the love of science fiction with everyone!

I hope you have a fabulous Saturday!
Warm regards,
Kellie

A New Box of Books!

Hello everyone!

Last week I got a box of books of Finding Hekate fresh off the press! I’m pretty excited about it because 1) three of them went to Another Read Through, a local bookstore here in Portland, so that means I have books in TWO BOOKSTORES and that’s pretty badass, and 2) it means I can do some more giveaways! I’ve been brainstorming this week about things that I could do and thus far I’ve come up with this (keep in mind: these are still pretty new):

Doing a Twitter Hashtag Event (3 books)

  • In order to share the love of science fiction books, where people share their favorite science fiction books and I’ll pick the top three at random that Saturday?
  • Possible (mostly unused) hashtags
    • #FavoriteSciFiStory (?)
    • #SciFiStorytellers (?)

Goodreads Giveaway or create an event on Goodreads? (1 book)

  • Research how the heck to do this…

Donate one to the Queer Resource Center (PSU) and the In Other Words Feminist Society (2 books)

  • just because 🙂

Join together with a bunch of other authors to do a giveaway to support others and make it more of an event? (1 book each…or more?)

  • Science fiction only? A #ShootToTheStars Giveaway!
  • super easy way to enter – just put in your email address into a Google form?
    • Then I’d link it to the other authors?
  • Who would I ask to join?
  • How do I start doing this?

Do something for National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11)? (1 book)

  • Something simple?

So…yeah, as you can see, I’m still in the hashing-things-down stage of this. I’m going to reach out to some authors to see the kinds of giveaways and such they’ve tried. What worked and what didn’t. It’s been a fun process! I’m probably not going to giveaway all of them but doing a few of these ideas might increase my overall readership and fanbase. 🙂

Fellow creatives: What have you done-giveaway wise-that’s worked in the past?

I hope you’re having a lovely day!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Blogpost Giveaway – Winner Announcement!

Hello everyone,

My Finding Hekate Blogpost Giveaway officially ended today, and the winner is: Crazy Grad Mama.

Congratulations, Crazy Grad Mama!!

The winner was chosen randomly, but I got some amazing responses to my question of What makes you fall in love with a book? Here’s what Crazy Grad Mama said:

“Hmm, good question. It depends on the type of book (fiction vs. non-fiction, etc.), but I’d say the one constant that really appeals to me in a book is good pacing. Not too slow or with too many extraneous details. It doesn’t have to be full of cliffhangers or anything, but I love it when I’m always excited to turn the page.”

I wanted to thank everyone who participated, too! I loved reading through all the comments. If you would like the chance to win some free signed copies of Finding Hekate, there are still two more giveaways going on over on my social media accounts:

  • A Twitter/Facebook Giveaway: Follow @Kellie_Doherty and retweet my Giveaway post today to be entered into my #bookgiveaway! You can also enter on Facebook by Liking my Facebook Giveaway post and Author Page. Two of my followers will win signed copies! I’ll announce those winners on Thursday, May 12th.
  • An Instagram Giveaway: Everyone who follows me and Likes my Giveaway post on Instagram will be entered to win a free book! This post also went live on today, and the winner of this one will be announced on Thursday, May 12th, too.

Good luck to everyone and again, congrats, Crazy Grad Mama! I look forward to sending you your signed copy of Finding Hekate!
Warm regards,
Kellie

 

Blogpost Giveaway Starts Today!

Hello everyone!

As promised I’m going to give away a signed copy of Finding Hekate this week to a fellow blogger. Here’s how it works: I’m going to ask a specific question below; you, my lovely readers, will answer that question in the comments; and then on Monday, May 9th, I’ll announce the winner! And, yes, new readers can enter, too, just make sure to subscribe to my blog first!

(This is a fast turn-around, I know, but this box of books is burning a hole through my table. Plus my cat keeps chewing on the cardboard, and I want all the books to be out before she gets in.)

GIVEAWAY QUESTION:
What makes you fall in love with a book?

I’m also announcing the Newsletter Giveaway winner tomorrow! I’ll be picking a winner first thing tomorrow morning, so there’s still time to enter. If you’d like to, head on over to my website and subscribe. Additionally, I’m going to be doing some social media-specific giveaways next week, so keep an eye on my Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.

I look forward to reading your answers, and I hope you have a lovely weekend!
Warm regards,
Kellie