Where do I get the ideas for my stories?

The conversation usually goes something like this:

“I’ve always wanted to write, but I can’t seem to get any ideas. Where do you get your ideas?”

And I say, “You know, I read a lot, and daydream and take from dreams, sometimes stuff happens in real life. That’s about it, really.”

At this point, the conversation dies off, usually with a look of disappointment on the other person’s face, like I was supposed to let them in on some secret that only writers know.

Nah. It’s true. I read a lot. I read fiction as often and for as long as I can on a daily basis. I also let my mind wander, and sometimes a dream will catch me by surprise with an especially juicy idea.

But the point of this post is to let my readers know, and perhaps any aspiring writers out there, just where I get my best ideas.

The news. Yep. I read the news and gauge how the events I’m reading about affect me intellectually and emotionally. Just read and keep up on current events as often as you can stomach it. And remember, read what you are interested in.

For me, I’ve always been fascinated in the paranormal and scary things. I haunt the websites that feed me the latest on weird news and supposed paranormal happenings, and I feast on the good stuff there. I find that when I read something truly weird yet believable, I’ll get this shiver at the top of my spine, just above the shoulder blades. This tells me that this could be the basis for a story, and then I store it away in my mind. I don’t write it down. I figure that if the idea is strong enough, I’ll remember it when I need it. I love the fantastic, usually first-hand, accounts. The ones that make absolutely no sense, yet have that ring of truth I search for and only occasionally find. I take those shivers, and let them simmer within that disturbing cauldron I call my skull.

So allow me the opportunity to give you my personal choices for paranormal websites that I check on at least once a day.


The Anomalist is usually my first stop in my search for weird news. The site is set up by most recent date, and usually includes the best bits from other website stops I make daily. It doesn’t limit itself to one or two topics. Everything from ghosts to ufos to Bigfoot to Slenderman news is there with the links to the stories.


The terrific Lon Strickler accumulates and presents major paranormal news stories as well as personal accounts of scary and bizarre things that people experience and send to him. Loads of fun in every post.


Mysterious Universe has been putting forth the best in paranormal news, historic events, and the latest findings in science. Always good. Always interesting.


David Weatherly strives to bring the unusual stories you don’t normally find on other sites. He posts every few days, but I’ve never been disappointed when he does.


Beachcombing’s Bizarre History Blog is exactly that, posts about strange historical happenings. Yum!


A wonderful round-up of news and strange occurrences, nicely parceled and presented. This is updated a few times a week.


Finally, of course The Fortean Times. It’s a UK based message board, but people post interesting things from around the world, sometimes stuff that’s in the news, sometimes cool and scary It Happened to Me stories. I visit this one about once a week.

And the final treasure trove of bizarre,


Reddit is a mighty force on the ol’ Intertubes, and I invite you to go there and use the search tool to find topics on just about anything paranormal. I personally check these subreddits:


This subreddit is for non-fiction personal stories, some simply odd, some absolutely terrifying. If even a fraction of these stories are true, then man, are we wrong about the nature of reality!






And a whole bunch of other stuff too numerous to list here.


There you go. Some of my most treasured sources to turn to for ideas. Sure, they won’t (and shouldn’t) write the story for you, but sooner or later you will find that one little idea that sparks the frightening story within you. I hope this info helps.

See ya later, Deadies!

Review of The Conjuring

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Okay, Deadies, I rewatched The Conjuring like I said I would to reevaluate my original thoughts about it. If you’ve read my review of The Conjuring 2, you know that I was impressed with how scary and well-crafted it was, and how I thought it was better than the first one. So I did it. I watched the first Conjuring again, and I’m here to tell you that my original thoughts about it hold up.

Ed and Lorraine Warren go to a secluded farmhouse to help a terrorized family kick some demon’s ass back to Hell. James Wan did his standard fine job directing, obviously relishing the material by relying on the standard jump scares and haunted house creaks and groans. The fine actors Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston, and Lili Taylor are endearing and obviously committed to the material enough that you certainly root for them. There were a few very good scares. Good stuff there.

But I had issues with the storyline. The writing was fine for the most part, but the story seemed a bit thin in the logic department in places. For instance, in one scene, the statement is made that Lili Taylor’s character, Carolyn Perron, has been demonically possessed, so they need to get her away from the house. Ahem. Really? Why? Certainly a demon from the fiery pit of Hell would not care less where that possessed person was specifically, only that they were inside them and behaving evilly.

And then, since the demon possessing Carolyn is, according to Lorraine Warren, targeting the children, they all pile into a car to go to a motel. Road trip. Together. So we have a terrorized family with a possessed Mommy who wants to kill the kids all going to a motel. What kind of continental breakfast would a woman possessed by a demon request? I joke, I joke.

And because of these little things that didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, I found myself impatient and slightly bored at the end. The silliness just kept getting increasingly silly rather than scary. If the writing could have better explained the inconsistencies in logic, I would have been okay with it.

By the time the credits rolled, I was left as disappointed as the first time I watched this film. I like the director, I like the actors and acting, I liked many of the scary elements, but the lapses in logic threw all of that off for me.

For a grade, where I would give The Conjuring 2 an A, The Conjuring gets a B- from me. I know that audiences and reviewers seem to like the first one better. I just thought the sequel was better.

Watch them both and see for yourself. If you think I’m full of crap, let me know. Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

Movie Review: The Conjuring 2

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This review is only an opinion piece. If you read this and disagree, take a deep breath, cool your jets, and grab a cool drink. These are my thoughts and I’ll say any damn thing I think since, come on, it doesn’t truly matter.


Over the past few years, I’ve become a bit disillusioned with many horror films. Most have the same tired themes and lack originality. Occasionally I’ve been pleasantly surprised by a new horror film, such as The Babadook and Bone Tomahawk. Film makers would be better served to delve into the indie horror scene to get a fresh perspective, because there is a growing library of horror that has not yet been cultivated for ideas.

That being said, I still really liked The Conjuring 2. True, the film really doesn’t break new ground. Ed and Lorraine Warren are once again pulled by a series of circumstances to investigate a North London home. A woman and her children are enduring frightening experiences and ask for help. The Warrens arrive and then the real fun begins.

Director James Wan has been making films for years now, most well-known for his trend-setting film Saw and more lately for Furious 7. This fine director knows horror, and he knows how to build a climax. While I’ve not been completely enamored with some of his films, this one works.

I walked into this film expecting kind of a retread of the first Conjuring, but it really isn’t. Though the central characters remain the same from the previous film to this one, Wan builds upon the first film to bring us a totally new story.

Using the Enfield Haunting incident from decades ago, Wan goes full throttle, not caring a whit about how historically accurate it is. Honestly, as I watched the first Conjuring, I was a little distracted by the inaccuracies of the main characters, the Warrens, as well as the problems in the story. Still, it was one of the better horror films of that year. I plan on re-watching it again soon to see if I’ll have an attitude adjustment about it.

In this film, the Warrens, once again played by the fine actor Patrick Wilson (the guy who’s good in everything and you recognize, but can never remember his name) and Vera Farmiga. They have a comfortable chemistry with one another, and this brings a nice grounding to all the weird things they go through. I hesitate to say anything further about the plot since if you decide you’d like to give it a try I don’t want to sully your experience. The film is rated R, and thinking back on it, I don’t remember any swear words at all and not a lot of blood, and absolutely no sex, so I figure it has to be because of the intensity of the fear it instills in viewers.

This film can stand alone as one of the best horror efforts of this year. This is a solid film, ably directed, with fine acting all the way around. There are plenty of scare jumps, a creepy demonic creature dressed as a nun, and a fine sense of overall dread and fear that drapes over the entire story. And for once, here is a horror film climax that delivers and satisfies.

I’ve read in other reviews that this is not only a good horror film, but a good film outside of any genre, and I agree totally. I highly recommend this film.