Thursday, August 12, 2010

WHERE Do You Get these Ideas?

Where Do You Get these Ideas?

This month I'm participating in a Blog Chain with many of my fellow Christian Writers from If you check the sidebar, I have a panel that will let you check out many of the other wonderful posts on this chain. The subject for the blog chain this month is 'Where do you get your ideas?'

I get this question quite a bit. The answer is pretty obvious - the ideas for my novels come from the world around me. True, the fantastic adventures I write about don't happen every day (or perhaps ANY day) but the characters, locations, interactions, and even some of the situations come from the real life I experience every day.

Just as an example, one evening last September while driving my family somewhere, we passed a house in a neighborhood nearby that had a brilliant blue door on the front. The trim wasn't blue, or the shutters, just the door. Everything else was white. The late afternoon sunlight shining on the high-gloss paint of that brilliant blue door made it seem like the door was glowing.

Not a half-block further, we passed several huge crows sitting on a lawn and muttering to one another in a gutteral tongue only they could understand. They looked like they were having a meeting.

And suddenly, the plot to my next NaNoWriMo novel was plopped into my brain. Oh, certainly, there was a lot more to it - some of the characters in the story I saw while at Six Flags several years previously. And no, it wasn't Bugs Bunny and Marvin the Martian. Or even Yosemite Sam. it was a brilliant-looking older man with a grandson and granddaughter near the fountain by the entrance. He looked a bit like an older Milo from Atlantis. Unkempt silver hair, spectacles, and intense blue eyes that twinkled as he explained something about the way the water danced in the fountain to his family.

The world around us is full of stories to tell. Mix and match what you experience and observe. Keep a notebook with you to write down ideas. Take photographs - carry a camera and take pictures of interesting things - things that give you ideas.

While mulling over what to write about in this post, I was driving to work and saw this monster stuck under my windshield wiper. The poor fellow had simply landed on the front of the van, and the wind as I accelerated swept him up under the windshield wiper.

Don't try this at home, kids, but I took this photo while driving. Yes, I keep a camera with me all the time. Once I got to work, the fellow flipped off and flew away, perfectly fine, although miles and miles from his old home. And this big guy gave me the idea for a story - a story I'll share with you in four installments this month. Hope you enjoy it!


  1. Great post. Your bug looks like it might have been a cicada. Perhaps there's some cosmic connection between the blue door and the blue bug? Maybe we shouldn't be making these things public; the guys in the black SUV's may start showing up. ;o)
    Peace and Blessings

  2. I just realized that I haven't "Followed" you yet. I want to find out about the Big Guy Story you have. I love the way you look at the world! I used to keep a notebook with me at all times, but have slipped out of the habit. Thanks for the inspiring me again!
    Blessings, Chris!!

  3. Thanks, guys!

    Ed, he does look a bit like a cicada. But he's a dragonfly. A very LARGE one. When I stopped the van at a railroad tracks just before getting on the island I work on, he buzzed off the windshield, spun around a few times, and flew off.

    Kat, thanks! It's important to write those notes down, especially if you're ADD like me. I'll forget what... Hey, a butterfly!

    The story will auto-post in the next four days, so be sure to check back here in the next four days to read it.

  4. Thanks for sharing, Chris! It is so interesting to see how the minds of other writers spin around and chew information they process from their environment. :)

  5. Oh, by the way, I added myself to the BLog-Chain a little late. Could you add that my blog will be posting on this subject on the 24th? - Word Obsession

  6. Glad to know I'm not the only camera and notebook toter out there. Every time I consider downsizing my purse, I realize I'd have to leave those two items out, so it ain't gonna happen. ;)

    Great post, Chris. I like the way you put things together. Can't wait to read the dragonfly story - or whatever that big ole bug inspired.

  7. Enjoyed reading this. Glad the dragonfly was ok! A blue door. Hmmm . . . .

  8. Wonderful post, Chris! I like "mix and match" experiences from life to make a novel.

    Our neighbors across the street painted their house in primary colors. The front door was red, the side door yellow, the trim green. It was like seeing a house designed by Crayola.

  9. This was a fun post! I'm a little behind in commenting since I've been at some family functions etc. But keep those ideas brewing!

  10. I love how you seem to be constantly switched on to the world around you, ready to be inspired by all the interesting things that life throws at you. Being that observant is a useful trait for a writer.

  11. Ah, yes...the way writers come up with ideas from anywhere and everywhere. Thank you so much for sharing some specific examples Chris. It almost makes me feel normal. LOLOL