Writer’s Radar and How to Use it Without Losing Friends!

Writers are people who listen and observe. They are like artists only they use words to tell a story instead of drawing or painting it. It’s perhaps a little less complicated for artists as they can look at a scene or a face or whatever subject they choose and create their interpretation of it and no one can accuse them of exploitation.

The dilemma for writers is that story ideas/inspiration often comes from the things people tell us, sometimes intimate things, secrets, heart-breaking things that have happened, betrayals they have suffered and so on. And of course the happy things too!

As a romance writer I am always on the hunt for story ideas. Usually they pop into my head as a result of something I’ve read or heard about in popular culture. But sometimes someone will tell me something and my writer’s radar will tune in and I can’t wait to write about it.

But how far should a writer go in using something someone has told them? After all, the words I write are read by millions of people, not just one or two. I’m always very careful to put my own spin on a story rather than use someone’s experience word for word. That’s what a writer’s imagination is for. So, just like an artist painting a scene, writers are interpreting a situation, and in the case of a romance author like me, finding a resolution that gives everyone a happy ever after.

The story idea for Book Two of my Sabbatini Brothers Trilogy One Last Night came from a friend who was telling me about a colleague of hers who was going through a painful divorce after several IVF attempts had failed. What a heartbreaking situation to be in. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I thought of how hard it would be to want something so much and not be able to achieve it. No amount of love was going to change that poor couple’s situation.

My writer’s radar was buzzing. Who can I put in this heart-wrenching situation? I thought. I came up with a lovely young woman called Maya who is married to the oldest son of the Sabbatini dynasty, Giorgio. After five years of disappointment she decides to end her marriage to Giorgio as she can’t give him the heir he so dearly wants. But a one night encounter close to the day of their divorce brings about a miracle that could change everything.

The joy of being a romance writer is you can give your characters the happy ending that in real life doesn’t always happen. I wish I could do that for every person I meet. How wonderful to be a Fairy Godmother who could sprinkle happiness everywhere!

Inspiration is a funny, sometimes illusive thing. It can strike at any time and in any place. You never know when it’s going to tap you on the shoulder and say: Here’s an idea! I love that process of going from a tiny kernel of an idea and watching it grow and grow until it blossoms into a best seller.

I hope you enjoy One Last Night and that it inspires you!

Best wishes,

Melanie Milburne


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