Coming Up With That Next Story. How Do You Do It?

Marketing Photo2Many people ask me after reading one of my books, how I came up with the idea for the story? In reference to Unrelenting Nightmare, I explain that the idea came about from a laser technology demonstration I saw when I was in college in 1966. The visual effects that appeared on the stage became imbedded in my mind and memory. Thirty-eight years later, I combined the recollection of those images with the technology of virtual reality and had the substance of my story. And then I just started writing.

The process of coming up with and idea seems fairly simple to me, although I’ve found that for most people that’s not the case. I see, or read, or hear something and I often wonder if there’s a story hidden behind what I just experienced. People look at me and tell me they hear and read and see things all the time, but no stories come rushing at them. All I can do is shrug.

My youngest daughter was one of those people who asked how I came up with my ideas. We were riding in her car and listing to the radio when she posed the question to me. We happened to be listening to a song at that moment, and I figured this might be the best way to explain it to her.

“Hear that song?” I asked.

“Yes,” she answered.

“I could write a story about it. Not specifically about that particular song, but listening to it brought feelings and emotions to me that would make a strong foundation for a romance story.”

She looked at me. “Really!” was all she said, adding a roll of the eyes.

A little over three years later, I finished the manuscript of a romance novel from the feelings and emotions I felt from listing to that song. Of course my story became more than what I experienced when I heard it, but, nevertheless, the song did inspire my story.

So there you have it, for whatever it’s worth. Those are two examples that motivated stories that I’ve written. All of my books have been inspired by something in my life — a personal experience, reactions to incidents, strong interests, and the list goes on. And either you understand how that works, and maybe try it for yourself, or … you simply see me shrug.

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