Where Ideas for Stories Come From

20 Jul

You’ve likely come across one recently. One of many blog articles or forums discussing where plot ideas come from.  In many cases, the bottomline answer is simply ‘everywhere.’ I’m not here to refute that. I agree, whole-heartedly. But I think the real confusion for new authors isn’t where to find them, but how to find them. How do you find a story in the bottom of the laundry basket? Or in that uneventful drive to work that was as mundane yesterday as it was yesterday seven years ago? Those count in ‘everywhere,’ right?

I not only believe they count, but I believe you can find ideas in those places easily once you know how to look. The real trick is in teaching yourself to see them, and to do that you need to redevelope one lost thing. No, not your imagination. Your sense of wonder.

There is a lot on the importance of imagination, which is essential, but I believe there is little to imagine if you don’t first wonder. To wonder is to ask questions; and questions want answers. Always.

What would the world be like if werewolves existed? What if a shy school teacher fell into the embrace of a womanizing rogue bent on conquering every woman he sees? What if a frustrated cop turns serial killer and his partner finds out? People have once asked some of these questions and readers the world around have appreciated their answers.

Going back to the laundry basket, ever wondered why they have holes in them? What if that basket were redesigned, how would it look in the future? What if it could annoy you with chit-chat while you pretended to be too busy loading the washer?

Also, that mundane drive to work. What could you wonder about the other cars? Their drivers? Those driver’s passengers, or lack thereof? What about that suspicious looking couple parked at the side of the road (pretending they’re only) walking their dog?

See all those questions? That’s wonder at work. It’s not always about sitting and just brain storming. Sometimes it’s in wondering what you’d do if you had superpowers but were always out-shined by your ex on the justice team. Ask questions that need answers and those answers could become the next short story or novel you write.

Imagine that.


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easy reading is damn hard writing

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