I know I don’t have much of a following, yet, but I still get asked where I get the ideas for my stories.
I’ll start with my current side project. My wife has been asking me for a couple of years to write a story about a Silver Maple tree we have in our backyard. I know that is vague, but that is how it all started. I kept telling her I would start on something when I had the time. I finally started making time for it, and I squeeze it in when I am bored or stuck on book 3 in the Keepers of the Orbs Series.
While she gave me a topic, the actual story came to me the same way the Keepers series and my short story Redemption (as well as several others that I have yet to create) came to me. You see, when I was younger (8 or 9 years old) I can remember several instances where I couldn’t sleep. My big problem was that my mind would be stuck on another topic and I couldn’t shut it off. I taught myself to tell stories in my head; something to distract me and shift my brain to another topic. I noticed I easily drifted off to sleep. One such time I can recall, I threw all of my blankets and pillows on top of myself, and pretended I was in a cave that collapsed. I had to try and survive, as well as find my way out. I know it sounds silly, but this trained me and any time I had an issue, I used this tactic to easily fall asleep.
I know most people can relate in that as we grow older, trouble finding sleep only grows, especially when you are faced with extra stress or worries. On many sleepless nights over the past ten years, I found a particular story kept coming to me. When I was laid off and finally got up the courage to do something, this one became the basis for The Unknown Man, which quickly grew into a series.
Since I have been writing for the past 4 years, I have adopted a new routine. I write until about 11:30 at night, get into bed and read until midnight (or later depending on how drawn in I am to the book) and then I start telling myself stories regardless of whether or not I can sleep. If I am working on the series, my mind is focused on that and I continue writing it in my head (usually only for about 3 or 4 minutes) until I fall asleep. It isn’t a lot, but it gives me a good point to work with the following night when I actually sit down to write. If I am taking a break from the series, I let my mind wander, and I just create whatever I am feeling on that particular night. Maybe something happened during the day, who knows, but it comes pretty easily. The ideas I like, I write down so I can revisit at another time (when I have nothing else going on).
So there it is. My ideas come to me as a tool I created long ago to fight insomnia.