Sunday, November 16, 2014

They're Everywhere! (Ideas for stories, that is...)

Many interviewers have one question in common:  Where do you get ideas for your stories? It a fair question, and I have an answer:  Everywhere.
But let’s get specific. Here’s a list, and I wish you happy hunting if you’re on the prowl for an idea.
·        Old family stories told to me or within my hearing
My great-grandfather shot his step-father and ran off, but the law caught up with him and said, “The man needed killing. Come home.” (Four Summer Days coming in 2015)
Very hush hush story about another grandfather which got completely changed in the writing! Where Is Papa’s Shining Star? and Finding Papa’s Shining Star)
·        Poignant trivia gleaned from genealogical research.
The man went off to the Civil War leaving his childless wife behind and died in camp of an illness. She remarried a much older man and became step-mother to his children. She wasn’t even important enough to have a grave marker like his first wife.
·        Death certificates
The young woman died of tetanus from a self-induced abortion.
·        Observation
I used to wonder where the door from the balcony of my childhood church (1912) led. Turns out it led to the roof where services were held in nice weather!
·        Obituaries
The unmarried woman was survived by 9 brothers.
·        Newspaper articles
When the antique dealer went upstairs in the building she rented, she found an almost-untouched…um…establishment.
·        Tours
In another…um…establishment…there were pictures on the wall of the ‘ladies’ who worked there. (The Face on Miss Fanny’s Wall)
The paddlewheel steamer oozed romance as it plowed through the dark waters. (The Showboat Affair)
·        Travel Brochures (Stock up at the next state line welcome center and see where they take you!)
·        Road signs
Doesn’t Mustang Creek conjure up pictures in your mind? (Short story: Madness at Mustang Creek)
·        Backs of menus
The history of the massive bar, allusions to Al Capone’s patronage (The Dreamland Series)
·        Conversation
Few Catholic characters in novels (The Penelope Pembroke Cozy Mystery Series)
·        Travel brochures
·        Notes jotted in notebook while waiting at airports
If you can’t find a character for a story here, you aren’t looking!
·        Song Titles
Tell Me That You Love Me (short story)
·        Mainstreamed ‘fan fiction’
(A Very Kate Christmas, The Kate Chronicles)
·        Roadside Historic Markers
What happened here? What used to be here and isn’t anymore-e.g. ruins of old buildings)
·        Memories
The old school, the old church, the house you grew up in—do a walk-through in your mind.)
·        Calendars
Special dates
·        Museums
Something’s bound to rattle your cage!
·        Coffee table books
The pictures should set your mind spinning.

Next Monday I’ll provide some links to online sources which are full of ideas. Meanwhile, drop by Someday Is Here. Maybe you’ll even find an idea there!

Get hooked on a good clean read!

No comments: