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  • Writer's pictureShannon Work

Where do book ideas come from?

Book ideas come from everywhere--stories you've been told in the past, television, movies, other books. But mostly they come from your imagination. Sometimes flying at you out of nowhere at the end of the day as you're about to drop off to sleep, other times while you sit and think of all the intriguing 'What if?' questions your novel could delve into and answer. I love the ideas that come at me visually, when they're triggered by something I see.

Look at this tree that sits just off the back patio of a townhouse we have in College Station. The tree lays between the patio and the fairway of a golf course (not very terrifying, I know). But look at the tree in the sinister light of an approaching storm. Could someone be lost in the brambles around it? Or even buried near its base? Why were they there? Could the tree be the secret meeting place of a small cult or secret band of thieves? Does the tree come alive when someone is alone and ventures too near, swooping down and clawing at them with its gnarled limbs like the Whomping Willow in Harry Potter? Could the tree be responsible for the spate of people gone missing over the years? Maybe someone goes missing every year on the same night, never to be heard from again? Hmm. Could be fun!

To quote Stephen King: "Let's get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky.”


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