Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Where Do Ideas Come From?

People often ask me where I get ideas for writing. Quite frankly, it’s real life. Often times I run into characters, I mean people, who make me smile or cringe. Those are the kinds of characters I like to include in my stories. I got the idea for Come Eat at My Table when talking to a friend of mine. She had some dreadful things happen to her as a child. Then she made a comment that set my imagination in motion.

Many of the little scenes throughout Come Eat at My Table really took place. I’ll give you one example, Karin tells of a time when she got a sliver in her shin. Yup, that really happened to me. It was about 4 inches long and it got infected. My mom and my brother had to hold me down while my dad dug it out. (We didn’t go to the doctor’s for every little thing when I was a kid.) I incorporated that into my story with a few additions and subtractions.  

Don’t forget about looking to the kids for ideas. One of mine, who will remain nameless, once put a tissue in a candle I was burning “just to see what would happen.” What would happen is he/she dropped the burning tissue and burned a hole in the rug. My son is forever spewing out statements that make me wonder if I brought home the right baby from the hospital or not. Just the other day he was watching a young man and woman. “He’s flirting with her.”

“Why do you say that?” I asked. 

“I know that look on his face. I've had the same look on my face many times.” He then looks at me with a smirk. 

Keep in mind, The Boy is 13.  

Then there is a story I would LOVE to tell about my husband, but he won’t allow me to plaster it all over the Internet. I’m respecting his wishes as much as it pains me.

Of course I grew up with three siblings and some of their experiences have made an appearance in my writing ventures. Hey, Mar, does the name Mary Lou Retton bring back any memories? I actually saw something from our lives on a TV show recently. The characters in the show were seeing how many grapes they could fit into their mouths. I have pictures of another sister with I believe 17 grapes in her mouth. It was funny when I was a kid and it was funny the other night. My brother has had more accidents than most normal people, putting my parents on a first name basis with the Emergency Room staff.

I find real life…real. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s not. Real life invokes the entire spectrum of emotions. That’s where I get my ideas. 

Will you ever find a bit of yourself in my books? Possibly, but I’ll try not to make it too obvious. However, you might have to read to find out for sure!
Come Eat at My Table is still available with free shipping through the end of the month. Visit my web page to order. http://ruthoneil.weebly.com/books


  1. I also had a brother who had many unbelievable accidents - ice pick through his hand,flying over a set of concrete steps and grabbing the screen door which kept his skull intact, etc. He was also much like the Boy. Never a dull moment living with him.

    1. Must be a boy thing. My life wasn't that exciting!

  2. Ruth,

    I just wanted to say how much I Really Really enjoyed your book. Your an amazing writer. And yes I cried at the end. Dustin has a friend that loves to write so I think I'm going to let her read it to give her some inspiration thru you. Now when are you going to write another book like that? I could not put the book down. I read the first chapter one day, then got busy with house stuff. But the next day I read it till i finished it. Thank you Ruth and I look forward to your next book.


    1. Awww! Thanks, Brenda! I'm so glad you liked it. If Dustin's friend ever needs any advice give her my email address. I'd love to help her see her dreams come true. I'll let you know when the next book comes out. Thanks again! Miss you guys sooooo much!