A fellow author asked a question recently—how to generate ideas. It reminded me of a question I am often asked—where do I get my ideas.
I always say that ideas are everywhere but the question got me to thinking of different ways ideas have come to me.
1. From pictures. I found an oil painting at a garage sale one day and it makes me want to tell a story.
I can think of many pictures that trigger my imagination.
2. Songs. Listening to the song Unchained Melody resulted in the book, Unchained Hearts. I find country and western music to be especially ripe with story ideas.
3. Research always triggers ideas. A trip to Bents Old Fort in Colorado has generated a series that will be released in 2018. No titles yet.
A trip to the site of the Battle of the Little Bighorn sparked a series called Montana Cowboys.
4. Titles of songs, books, etc. For instance, the title Buffalo Gals led to the creation of the series I call Buffalo Gals of Bonners Ferry. It is currently available as Brides of Idaho.
5. Observing people. One day I was picking up someone at a bus and watched a young man dressed from head to toe in brown in a typical cowboy stance—leaning against a wall, one leg bent and arms crossed. He watched several buses arrive, watched the passengers get off and obviously did not see who he watched for. There has to be a story there.
There are stories everywhere. The more I look for them, the more I find them.
What was the most unusual idea you came up with and what triggered it?