Have you ever been asked where your stories come from?

I was asked the other day where my stories originate from and my mind quickly came up with a rough list; bizarre thoughts (fuelled by too much sugar and caffeine), hormonal fluctuations (useful when writing romance), years of daydreaming at school and college and unexplainable lightbulb moments, which don’t happen that often, but have a habit of appearing in a supermarket in the frozen food aisle (results in a strange dance around my trolley).

The person who asked me the question cast me a puzzled look. I think he was expecting something mind boggling or scientific from me. *Wrong person for that*

Later I started thinking some more about the sources for ideas. I went through all my old notebooks to see whether I could come up with something more intelligent than my sugar addiction, where I am at in my menstrual cycle, what I saw out of my high school window and the odd things I get up to in supermarkets.

Here’s a list of where some of my stories have come from:

  • Life experiences – rich fodder.
  • A dodgy thriller I wrote years ago. It didn’t work as I posted the first chapter on my blog and one of my readers guessed who committed the crime in the comments (lol). A career in writing thrillers awaits me – yes I know. Anyway this story has been broken up into pieces and they have become the foundations for three of my stories.
  • Visiting the Welsh coastal town of Tenby with two squabbling children. You will be amazed what ideas come to you when you are trying to ignore your kids.
  • Dad’s record collection.
  • My childhood.
  • Overhearing an argument in a cafe.
  • Out of thin air – there’s one story which is so mad I have no idea where that came from.
  • A lift in a carpark.

It’s not very scientific is it – my list? It feels quite random.

I don’t really have one definitive answer to the question. Sorry.

What I do love is this quote from Stephen King on story ideas:

Let’s get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.’ –Stephen King.

Where do your stories come from?

Keep recognising those ideas when they show up, writers!

5 comments on “Where Do Our Stories Come From? #amwriting

  1. Love this. I have literally dreamed up story ideas. Or I steal them from observing other people’s lives. And many of the sources you’ve listed. They are literally everywhere – you just need to listen. Harder still is being able to focus on one while others dance about saying ‘look at me, look at me’.

  2. Absolutely got to agree with your list, Lucy!
    Life and observations of the world , nd people around me, provide me with such a richness of ideas!
    That, and a wild imagination!

  3. I agree with King, but just lately, ideas have been a bit thin on the ground!

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