“Where do your story ideas come from?”
This is a question I’m often asked as an author and every time the same image pops into my head. The image is a map of seedling storms forming off the west coast of Africa as hurricane season begins. They cross the Atlantic Ocean, each seedling slowly developing into a tropical storm. They feed off energy from the warm waters of the tropics and some churn into hurricanes before making landfall or turning eastward into the Atlantic.
To me, my story ideas are those storms lining up in the distance, each waiting to feed on energy, time, and further imagining. Each desiring to become a full-blown, published novel. They consist of characters that need to be fleshed out, plots that need development, and settings that require delicious details.
My seedling storms start with imagination, inspiration, and maybe bits of memories from dreams or childhood experiences. I also make a conscious effort to tuck away all the goodies I come across—bits of interesting dialogue I overhear at a local shop, quirky personality traits or habits I might observe in strangers at a downtown restaurant, and historic facts I come across while researching. Then I start asking myself questions that might develop the story idea; questions like what happened before those ladies arrived at the pastry shop to stir that heated conversation? Why is that boy dunking his BBQ Pringles, one at a time, into his Diet Coke? What was the atmosphere like when an eighteenth century mob set a ship on fire in a waterfront part of town where I now buy fish tacos with extra guacamole?
As Neil Gaiman once said when asked where his story ideas come from, “I make them up. Out of my head.All fiction is a process of imagining: whatever you write, in whatever genre or medium, your task is to make things up convincingly and interestingly and new.” I must agree and I feel fortunate in knowing that hurricane season may only last July through November, but the hurricane of ideas forming in the ocean of my imagination keeps going.
If you would like to pick up a copy of Bewitching Hannah, Mirror World has ebooks and paperbacks available in their online store, or you can purchase them wherever books are sold! And this month, you can get this ebook for free from Mirror World Publishing with the promo code: COVEN.
Image from: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/weather/video/3-named-storms-brewing-in-the-atlantic-1048419907512
August 21, 2019 at 1:12 pm
I love your analogy to hurricanes. It really explains how your stories develop!!