I’m often asked where I get my ideas from for my short stories and novels. The answer is I get ideas from everywhere! Here’s a list of where I get my ideas from in general.
Newspaper and magazine articles
Often I’ll either get an idea from the article itself or from a photograph or blurb contained within. For example, for my romantic comedy, ‘The Honey Trap’ I got the idea after reading a newspaper article about honey trappers, women who set up men for their partners to see if they’d cheat if presented with an opportunity. I suddenly thought, ‘What if one of those honey trappers accidentally set up the wrong man?’ And so the story of ‘The Honey Trap’ was born where part time honey trapper, Fran Santini, [who happens to be the worst honey trapper ever!], sets up the wrong guy. Irish born,Travis O’Connell is enjoying a pint at the pub one day when he gets accosted by lady who wants to catch him out. It’s only after the photographs are seen by the client’s wife that it becomes evident Fran’s set up the wrong guy!
Overheard Snippets of Conversation
You have to be careful when eavesdropping on other people’s conversations, but they can be so interesting, especially when taken out of context. Ever sat behind someone on the bus or train and wished they’d tell you more?
A picture paints a thousand words as they say. A simple snap of a cabin in the words can make you think a whole host of things: Who lives there? Where is it? What’s going on inside? Why is it there? When was that photograph taken? As the reader ask yourself the 5 ‘W’s. Who, where, what, why and when! It can also be useful to throw a ‘How’ into the mix sometimes.
Reading the horoscopes in the newspaper or online or in a magazine, can give you a plethora of ideas. For example, my horoscope for Capricorn today on Horoscope.com says:
“Watch out for a little jolt in the action as someone close to you puts on the brakes in your relationship, Capricorn. Conflicts could arise based on a need for more structure and stability. The imbalance between having fun and taking care of practical matters is working to slowly destroy the good thing that you have going. Nip this problem in the bud as soon as possible.”
There’s a story idea there! Or if you don’t like your own, there are another 11 to choose from!
Blurbs and headlines are great for ideas. Here are some from the same magazine:
The Really Wild Bunch
We’re like an old married couple, me and Michaela…
Ooh la la! What raunchy royals!
So Many Mistresses…
Dreaming about tooth loss is scary enough…
The kids had faith in me even when I didn’t…
Looking at some of those there are some that might good titles for stories like, ‘My Haven’ or ‘The Really Wild Bunch’ or even story prompts. Others could be used to begin a story like…’So many mistresses, where did he get the energy from at his age?’ etc. Or ‘Dreaming about tooth loss is scary enough but when you lose a tooth after eating a toffee apple you end up looking like….’
Well you get the general idea!
I got the idea for an historical romance novel I entitled, Black Diamonds, from a real life pit disaster that happened in my village back in 1865, along with a mix of my own family history. The Gethin Pit disaster happened just before Christmas that year and I wondered what life for the villagers would have been like afterwards. It would be pretty grim, for sure. That incident, coupled with the fact some of my own family were pioneer Mormons who emigrated to Utah at that time, found its way into my novel. All my historical and genealogical research made for an interesting read, I’m told!
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