Those Stories in My Head

ACFW Advice, Brainstorming, Characters, Friends of ACFW, writing Leave a Comment

By Martha Rogers

Like the raindrops in the song, these stories keep falling on head and filling it with ideas. Peg Phifer posted a quote on our Novel Track writing loop, and it suits me to a T. “GOD PUT ME HERE TO ACCOMPLISH A CERTAIN NUMBER OF THINGS. AT THIS RATE, I’LL NEVER DIE!”

That’s exactly how I feel about all the stories floating around in my brain. The only thing to do about them is to write down every idea. I did that and then put them in the order I wanted to write them. Five of them have been contracted as novellas, so those went to the top of the list in order by deadline.

Where do those story ideas originate? I see stories all around me. A vivid imagination creates all sorts of scenarios that can become full blown stories. My mother always scolded me for the embellishments I gave to ordinary events and as excuses for things I had done. She’d take me by the shoulders, look me in the eye and say, “Now, tell me the real story about what happened.”

Use your own imagination to find story ideas. You have one or you wouldn’t be writing at all. Following are sources I use to build my story idea bank.

1. Personal or real-life events or conflicts: Use the journey you take to understanding and resolving conflict to develop a plot for a character to do the same.

2. Disappointments in life: Heartache from a disappointment can be a stepping stone to a story of encouragement and how God can take the disappointments and use them for good.

3. News Events: What is happening in the world around us can become an excellent foundation for a great fiction story. Put your own spin on it and write it from your perspective or a “what if” situation.

4. Other books, TV shows, movies, song lyrics: Take something old and familiar and put a new spin on it or give it a new twist. Fairy tales and Bible stories are excellent examples of how writers have taken the familiar and made them new.

5. Hobbies or Interests: Hobbies can make a great character interest in a novel. A novella series with which I was involved was about the ladies of a garden club and their prize-winning gardens. Another group of authors wrote a series of articles with quilting as the theme.

6. Obituaries: A great place to get names for characters and interesting facts about people’s lives that can spark the imagination.

7. The Bible: This is perhaps the greatest source for story ideas. Murder, mayhem, loyalty, great love, devotion to a cause, leadership, conspiracy all lead to great story ideas. Give the Bible a new twist or set it in modern times and retell it in contemporary language. Many successful novels are based on a real character using what is known and adding events to make it into an inspiring story.

Maybe this will inspire you with an idea for your next novel. Happy writing.

martha-rogersMartha Rogers is a free-lance writer and frequent speaker for writing workshops and is a member of the Woodlands Chapter of ACFW. She is a retired teacher and lives in Houston with her husband, Rex. Their favorite pastime is spending time with their eleven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Comments 0

  1. Thank you, Martha. Great ideas and ones I’ll be sure to use. Real life give us so much to write about, my dear, and I’m with you – we will never die. Love ya!!!

  2. You inspire me to write more. I have many stories in my mind but few make it to paper…or computer screen:)

  3. Martha, I used to tell people I got my ideas from “ideas dot com.” Then I found out there was such a site (but it doesn’t have writers’ ideas). Thanks for sharing your list. Keep on telling those stories.

  4. Being in a new place, sometimes stimulates a new story idea in me. I imagine other people being there and wonder how they would react to this place. I begin to wonder how they got here and what will happen to them next.

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