I’ve always been an idea person. Even as a young editor I loved going to Barnes & Noble to pour over books and magazines and come up with my own ideas. I developed a cigar book, a beer book and a couple of different romance and mystery series ideas.
As an agent I continue to do the same. I’m always at the ready for an author who is having trouble thinking about what might be next or wants to take a germ of an idea and make it bigger. I’ve got a list of ideas and, in fact, just yesterday Jessica and I added three new romance ideas to that list. The trick is always finding the right author. The one with the perfect voice to match our vision.
Naturally, I’m often asked where I get my ideas and my answer is everywhere. I get them from magazine articles I read, blog posts, something I see on the train or even reviews of other books. In fact, sometimes the best ideas come from other books. No, I don’t rip off another idea, but something really great can get me thinking about other things. For example, reading Wonder by RJ Palacio got me thinking about all sorts of other ideas. Ideas that I don’t think I’m ready to share with the world until my author has run with them.
I’m not sure if it’s just easy for me because I’m naturally an idea person, but if you feel stuck for what to do next sitting in front of your computer staring at the screen is not going to give you the idea. Get out there and explore. Read other books, read blogs, read nonfiction magazine articles. Go to a movie and, more importantly, read another genre or sub-genre. Some of the world’s best ideas come from copying something else and making it your own. For example, could Gone Girl become a historical romance?