So, where do the story ideas come from? How do you find the story starter or the story ender? It's all fine and good if the idea is there with a sign saying, "I'd make a great story," but it rarely happens. I have five places where I can usualy find ideas for a story.
- News. Newspapers, evening news, morning news, internet and magazines are all places that I can find story ideas. Some are local; some are national or global. Some are simply stories such as a wounded warrior home from war; some can be turned into a mystery: finding a lost ship in the Great Lakes. The news is always a source for stories.
- Research. When I'm researching, I can usually find the beginnings of another novel . . . somewhat. Researching for an historical fiction novel about the Crusades time period led to an interesting story about pirates in the Baltic Sea which, in turn, led to a story about pirates in the Chesapeake Bay.
- Conversations. One never knows when a random conversation might trigger an idea. A friend of mine teaches and told me about a conversation students had concerning the perfect water fountain - not to mention which class was the best class to ask for a water break. Location was everything. While it might not make the greatest novel, it could make an interesting monologue or short story.
- Causes. Something that you're passionate about is always a good place to look for ideas. Praying for and supporting the persecuted Church is something that I feel passionate about, and I can usually find a story there. It doesn't have to be something big, though; I also happen to believe that we need to use more artisan crafts in our daily lives. Once again, I can find ways to generate ideas. Another way to utilize this thought is to subscribe to magazines that follow your passions.
- Family. Specifically, family history is a good generator. Yes, some are strictly historical like the ancestor who fought in the French and Indian War, but some can be contemporary like proving that you are a descendant of some rich nobleman and deserve the money. My own family has been in the States since before the American War of Independence. I have Loyalist and Patriot; Northener and Southerner; Canadian and American blood in my veins - and stories from all of it. Family history might appear boring, but it can be a good place to generate an idea for your next novel.
What about you? Where do you find your story ideas?