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!