Every author event I’ve been to has included the star of the show imparting the ‘read, read, read’ wisdom in some form of another. And while it’s normally meant as a learning guide, rather than an inspiration one, it is the latter benefit I sometimes turn to when other muses fail me.
I’m not talking about plagiarism. I’m talking about taking the ending of a book I’ve read (regardless of whether I enjoyed it or not) and then continue running with it. What happens to the characters, relationships and feelings after the novel’s ended?
But surely a novel ends where it’s supposed to? Well, for the purpose of the story, probably. But for this exercise? No. I just start answering the ‘what happens next?’ question. And keep going.
Once I’ve reached a place that has nothing to do with the original starting point, I change names, locations, seasons and so on, then begin my story. Yes, my story. Because by now, even the author shouldn’t be able to recognise my inspiration.
And if they can, I clearly haven’t gone far enough.