Where do you get your story ideas from?

This is the most commonly asked question I get from not only fans and readers, but from friends and family! Even my nine year old daughter wants to know how my story ideas are born. In the past I’ve said that most of my story ideas have come from my dreams, and this is absolutely true still, BUT, as a writer I also pay attention to the stories played on the news. Humanity is brutal – if you ever need a new concept for a thriller, horror or post-apocalyptic story – watch the news. Seriously. Or if you need help creating a new world for your next Science Fiction piece, put the Discovery channel on or watch Planet Earth for a bit. There are some amazing things here on our own planet that most of us have never seen before.

My point is not to copy exactly what you see (or hear) but you can look at something with your Writer’s Hat on and say, ‘Wow, that plus that would make an awesome story!’ And then, there you go – a new idea is born. It’s simple, yes, but it seems everything I experience nowadays gives me a new story idea. Taking a walk, shopping in the grocery store, hopping out of the car at the ATM, people watching at the park, petting a dog, grounding my kids, watching HLN, sewing up the hole on my favorite Ikea pillow, polishing the wood table, chasing the cat down the street, getting the guts to go outside and investigate that strange thumping on the roof, calling friends, weeding the garden and freaking out over the stick that looks like a snake, walking face-first into the wall, etc…It’s not only happening in my brain anymore during my REM sleep cycles. 😉 If I follow this policy and also rely on my actitve imagination that never sleeps, I will have stories for the next decade. At least, this is what I hope for. 🙂

Happy Writing!

3 thoughts on “Where do you get your story ideas from?

  1. Mike Duty says:

    Personally, I draw from instances in my own life. But, I think in terms of alternate timelines (for lack of a better phrase). Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if I had taken a different job or settled in a different town. Who would I know, what would I be like? For example, I almost joined the navy right out of high school and following from your suggestion about following the news; I’ve thought what if I had been involved in the relief efforts in Haiti or Japan? What would that be like?

    Like

  2. Joe says:

    My ideas are found during the wanderings of my mind. They are often born moments after two particular words pass through my mind. Those words are “what if”. You are so right about the news. My mind is often set to wandering based on some news story and I end up add ing a new entry into my “Idea File”.

    Like

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