Saturday, February 20, 2021

Where Do I Get ideas For Stories? By Connie Vines

Where do I get ideas for my stories?   

I imagine every author has a 'wave link' that attracts stories.  

Native Americans believe that Story Tellers have a responsibility
to give a 'story' life.  Therefore, the story finds the story teller.

Is this a good thing?
It is if it's any 'easy' story to write.

However, the path from beginning to The End is seldom easy.

My first romance novel, came to me during a family vacation in the mid-west.  We were in a café and bit of banter between a woman and a cowboy popped into my head (in my case, dialogue is what seems to be the 'jump-start' mode to 99% of my stories).  Later during a rodeo in Nebraska I watched a bull-riding event.  This is when Lynx Maddox walked on to page one.  This novel was awarded numerous awards and was fun to write.  I had a vague plotline which my characters seldom adhered to.  While every writer loves all the characters in his/her novels (well, aside from the villains), Lynx is still my favorite.

While I was writing my first romance novel, I was also researching my first historical YA novel.

I was involved in the Indian Education, Title IX Programs, and served on the PAC (parent advisory committee for K-8 school district). I also facilitated workshops for the Native American children in the district.  

Larry Sellers (Cloud Dancing) actor/stuntman in "Dr .Quinn, Medicine Woman" on television. hosted a workshop.  We were speaking during the break. I told him about the novel I was working on.  He advised me to complete my story and shared his experience as a child in boarding schools. (He only spoke Sioux when, as a five-year-old, he was sent to a boarding school.) He, and others, endured terrible hardships--hardships even worst for students in the late 1800's.  

The research required locating archived materials, visiting Native American boarding schools, interviewing adults who had attended the school or could recall stories told to them by parents or grandparents.  My characters are not molded after a particular person, but a composite of the  people I interviews or read about. This story tore at my heart. The stories I heard and the shawl of sadness which still effected those, even in old age, always stays with me.

This novel, Tanayia--Whisper upon the Water, took five years to complete.  
The novel was nominated for a National Book Award and The Frankfurt e-Book Award.

I'm ready to begin the 2nd in this series because the story is starting to call to me.  Right now it is only in the basic plotting stage because stories dealing with the dark side of humanity are emotionally draining to write.

I also write in multiple genres.  In genres you would probably not expect a writer who is so immersed in historical research to dapple in.

My first published magazine article was featured in "Junior Medical Detective" and later appeared in the Thomas Gaye Educational Series.  The story was titled, "A Candle in the Dark" and it was about the Salem Witchcraft Trials.

I write Sassy and Fun Fantasy, and anthologies (on of which will be available in April 2021).

Available now

Fall of 2021
Currently, I finishing my anthology (Gumbo Ya Ya: for women who like Cajun romance).
This anthology covers multiple genres: Romantic Comedy, Contemporary Romance, Cozy Mystery, A Ghost Story, and...I don't wish to spoil the plot for the 5th story. 

Cajun stories?

My husband is from Louisiana and New Orleans and the French Quarter are one of my favorite vacations spots.

Café Du Monde with coffee au lait and beignet dusted with a mountain of powdered sugar are my personal faves!

Romantic Suspense
Rodeo Romance, Book 2

Happy Reading!


Please stop by and visit the other talented authors participating in this month's blog hop:



  1. Hi Connie, Such an interesting post. I, too, often start in dialogue and I do spend a lot of time listening in to characters' conversation in my head before starting. Anne

  2. I thought I commented but unless it needs to be approved first it disappeared so here we go again. I'm fascinated that stories start for you with dialog. When I'm at an impasse already into the story I often go for a long walk and while I'm walking my characters start carrying on whole long conversations. So if we writers hear voices in our heads, we're not crazy, we're just creative.

  3. You have done a lot of research! I don't think many readers realize how much research some stories take to make them believable plus fit the reality of a time and place into a story. Your work in the education area is commendable! AND I'm getting Lynx!

  4. I agree with Rhobin. I don’t think readers realize just how much research books take, and yours in particular. One of my best friends was Native American. She used to talk a lot about how the US government treated them. They are still trying to take children away from their parents under the guise of preventing neglect. It’s truly sad.

  5. Yes, it can often be a bit of overheard conversation that makes authors go off on tangents--to produce a fleshed-out story that would surprise the speakers if they only knew! Since you write with a historical basis, you must have to do a lot of research.

    We used to go to Pow-Wows a lot when our kids were younger. They liked the spectacle of the dancing and the costumes, and of course, fry-bread tacos, and fry-bread with jam and powdered sugar--YUM! We were at a Pow-Wow on Mother's Day, and during a "rainbow tribe dance"--when non-Natives are invited to dance around the drum circle along with Natives, I was dancing next to a woman who was crying. I asked her why. She said that her husband's mother had been arrested and jailed when he was a kid, for teaching her children how to speak Miami. And now here we all were, honoring tribal traditions. I was horrified! Even sharing their own language and culture was a crime! In the land of the free? Despicable. If we're going to talk about reparations to anyone, I think first we need to start legally honoring all of the treaties we signed and immediately broke, over and over again. And of course, no new oil pipelines through tribal lands.

    Phew! End of soapbox.

  6. I was quite ignorant of the history of indigenous people in North America when I first immigtated to Canada. As I learnt more, I found it almost unbelievable that such dreadful things happened. The first book I read was Trail of Tears and don't mind telling you I shed many.

  7. Anne, thank you for reading (and enjoying) my post. It's a comfort to learn you 'hear' voices, too.

  8. Skye, Your second comment did appear :-). Long-walks do sound like a wonderful way to clear you head and allow for the characters to speak to you.

  9. Robin, Yes the research we conduct is much deeper than many realize. Thank you for purchasing, "Lynx". Happy Reading!

  10. Fiona, yes there are so many memories awakened at Powwows for those who attend. Yes, the punishment for speaking the native language was extreme for the children who had never been away from home. What people do not realize is when they returned home they had forgotten the language and could not communicate with parents.

    I am glad you participated in the dancing and enjoyed your frybread.

  11. Victoria, yes the forced marches was horrific. There were tribes who had 'several' forced marches here in the US.

  12. Like so many writers a visit to someplace often kick starts that kernel of an idea. Interesting you start with dialogue. I usually start with the plot.

  13. Hi Connie, I really enjoyed your fascinating post. And I love the idea that a storyteller has a responsibility to give a story life. You've taken that responsibility and given life to a story that needed telling. Thanks for your interesting take on this month's topic.

  14. I agree stories mostly come as nuggests and not fleshed out. Where in Nebraska did you attend the rodeo. I went to one in the Sand Hills onc. Could probably get a short story out of that.


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