Where do Story Ideas Come From? (Part Two)

February 13, 2012
Welcome back to part two of my question, "Where do story ideas come from?"

Make sure to catch part one here...

In response to my question, here's what the writing community Reddit.com told me about where their story ideas come from...

thephink: "Music. A lot of the stuff I write comes from what I imagine in my head when I hear certain songs. Some of it it's easy to tell what it’s based on, some of it has barely any connection what inspired it."

Renieri: "I traded my soul for a plastic green bucket filled with the best Chinese cookie fortunes. They direct me in financial matters and how to end each story."

TBatWork: "Escapism, plain and simple. My imagination is always going, and my memory is constantly referring back to itself for the things that inspired me. High school translated into a fairly dense low fantasy epic. Community college was a coming of age story. University was a mix of post apocalyptic zombie story, and the fantasy story that proceeds from then to now. I usually ask myself, "Where would I rather be?"

Alan James Koegh: "Sometimes events trigger an idea, like the time I was falling asleep in a hotel and felt a drop of something land on my head, reached up to wipe it away, but forehead was dry, creeped me out a little so I turned it into a story.

"Othertimes a song might start an idea and most of the other time it just happens. I get ideas randomly and write them down if I remember. Then there are times when I have a great idea and I've fleshed it out, but when sitting down to write it, nothing works. So, I store it in my idea book, and if I can't think of anything, I can come back to it then...

"...I'm sure experiences I've had, books I've read/movies I've seen etc., have a part in it, but it's very rare that I know exactly where an idea came from. Most of the time it's just there. Sometimes a scene, other times I know the ending but not the beginning or vice versa." (Read his stories at his blog)

J Mooney Ham: "I have a short story titled, The End - and Clifford Dunburton, that I did as my own slant on a somewhat Lovecraftian horror idea of scary plausibility. I got the idea after having been a fan of cosmological books and news for decades.

"...The idea for My First Day in the Afterlife came from me feeling extremely world weary, but pondering the fantasy that I could be wrong about there being no afterlife - but those who do believe in one could be wildly off on the details. In the tale I steal from the hero what he wants most: non-existence and eternal rest; and instead inform him he has at least one more stage of existence to endure, before he can get the real end he wants. I also use this scenario to tweak the ire of religious extremists."

SomeSalvation "Childhood and the way my young mind used to work."

TheBadGuyy: "I don't know where they come from. I think I'm naturally prone to making up stories, because as I sit with my buds, watching TV, playing some video game or whether I'm chilling with my GF, I'll have these thoughts pop up in my head, 'What if the main character of a story was actually a villain? Well, then ____ would have to be the 'hero' and I'd want...'

"This keeps going on and on until I have a story playing in my head. Random scenes from it pop up from time to time."

Qwexva: "It seems like most of my ideas come from completely random sentences people say. Taken out of context they grow into elaborate stories."

CJ Greene: "My ideas come from daily interactions for the most part. I've had times where I was discussing a topic and it spun off into a discussion of hypotheticals. Next thing I know, I'm running off to write down an idea I want to expand on later. Inspiration can strike anywhere, from your dreams, to your conversations, even while driving home from work. Some of my best ideas have come from just a single word said in the context of conversation. Usually, the word ends up being incorporated into my title somehow It's all about looking at a world in a different way and taking what you see and hear and putting your own spin to create a new reality."

Want to know more? Check out this resource created by Jerry Jenkins.

Make sure to catch part three next week! So, writers, where do your story ideas come from?


  1. I love that ideas can come from everywhere. All these different answers prove that.

  2. I agree with all these sources as I use most of them as well, but I can always fell back on Plagiarism in times of need. Not really.

  3. Sometimes they pop into our heads and we have to run for paper and a pen! Eek, where is it...oh no...the pen doesn't work. Where did that come from?

  4. A healthy mix of escapism and real life experiences. It is fascinating how a picture, a sound, or a touch can spark ideas that can then with that dose of escapism and real life experiences develop into something unique.
    Thanks for the great post Nicole!

  5. Great ideas! Real life and music inspire me most as a writer.
    Very interesting series!


  6. I enjoyed this--and I agree--as long as your imagination can "take you there" inspiration for writing can come from anything, anywhere. Great post!! Cheers, Jenn


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