Where Do Story Ideas Come From? ~ by Lexa Fisher

This Too Shall Pass, Award Winning photo by Mike Hornung

Authors are often asked "Where do you get your story ideas?" The answer is likely unique to each writer. Some authors get ideas from news stories to which they then add What if? to reshape the story with their own twist. Others like to people-watch in coffee shops or eavesdrop on conversations and come up with a story based on these observations.

For me, a feeling usually sparks a story. I love mysteries and family history, so the What if? question often begins with past generations.

Photo by Gustav Gullstrand on Unsplash
Let’s travel back in time with a young girl who loved to wander in the woods looking for long forgotten history. Why this fascinated her she never questioned, but she loved searching for signs of the past. The woods she wandered weren’t frightening or unwelcoming, instead, they promised stories of those who had gone before.  

Usually she only found the remains from not-so-long-ago campers and hunters. The evidence she longed to find was of early settlers. How did they live? What was life like for them? Who were they?

Photo by Steinar Engeland on Unsplash

One memorable day she found the discovery she dreamt of—an old house. Though she was but twelve, she closed her eyes and let her mind open to the presence of those who had lived there. The woods were silent, giving up no secrets.

Photo by DDP on Unsplash
After a few moments of reverent pause, she began sifting through fallen leaves to see what remained of the old house beyond its brick foundation and fallen boards. As her fingers scratched away dirt, a tiny teacup appeared and then a small chipped saucer.

A child lived here! Why were her playthings abandoned in this house? Excited by this find, she searched further and unearthed a cooking pot and a few scraps of rotting fabric. Had the cloth been the child's doll's dress?

Photo by Lester Hine on Unsplash
Night fell before she was able to collect more artifacts (a word she would learn years later). Then the changing season brought frost and earlier darkness that postponed her search of the grounds.

Years later this memory was triggered by the study of history and visiting museums in small towns across her state. Those distant memories ignited the desire to find her own ancestors. Genealogical research sparked enticing What if questions.

And I began to write...

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash


  1. I love this...the story behind the story is what I call it. I wish I had recorded what sparked a storyline or a character for so many of my stories.

  2. Lexa- with every post I learn something new about you. And I love Mike's award winning photo.



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