Where Do You Get Your Story Ideas? Alison Stone Wants to Know

Alison Stone (200X300)As writers, that has to be one of the biggest questions we get. Ah, I hate to sound cliché, but ideas are everywhere.

For my book Random Acts, I read an article about a young girl who had been pulled over for speeding. The police took her into the station and bullied her into signing an agreement to be a drug informant. A drug informant! This college student had never been involved with drugs. But in exchange for leniency for her speeding ticket, she was pressured to be an informant. Fortunately for her, her father was a lawyer. He not only went to the police, but to the media.

I then searched the Internet and learned this wasn’t an isolated incident. In 2008, a woman in Florida was killed when she was forced to purchase drugs undercover after being caught with a small amount of cannabis.

By now, my wheels were turning.

For my second book, Too Close to Home, I used an idea that had been bouncing aroundTCTH Alison Stone (200X300) in my head for years—longer than I had been writing. I used to be a manufacturing engineer for an automotive parts supplier. As a twenty-some-year-old female engineer, I was well aware the guys on the floor liked to yank my chain. One guy told me that once someone drowned in one of the large tanks used in the manufacturing process. He claimed he was murdered in retaliation for a drug deal gone bad. I have no idea if “his” story was true or not, but in my story,Too Close to Home, drugs are smuggled through a manufacturing facility and into Canada.

Ideas can also be generated by thinking, “What if.” When I learned Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense was looking for more Amish stories, I started brainstorming. The Amish generally shun technology. How could technology wreak havoc in their Plain world? Then it hit me: What if a plane crashed in an Amish field? What if the heroine’s brother was killed in a single-engine plane crash in an Amish field and she has to go there to claim his body? What if while she’s there, the FBI hero starts asking a lot of questions?
Original Plain Pursuit Cover

This idea became Plain Pursuit which will be released by Harlequin in June 2013.

Here’s the blurb: When her brother is killed in a small Amish town, Anna Quinn discovers she’s an unwelcome outsider. But the FBI agent investigating the case is right at home–because Eli Miller was born and raised in Apple Creek’s Plain community. Eli left his Amish faith behind long ago, but his heart is rooted in a local cold case he can’t forget–a mystery with strange connections to Anna’s loss. Desperate to uncover the truth, Anna and Eli are faced with stony silences and secrets…secrets that someone wants to keep buried in the past.

It’s fun to see an idea grow into a book, then be summarized in a few-sentence blurb.
Once I was outside chatting with neighbors and one of them stopped, looked at me and said (in all sincerity), “This isn’t going to appear in a book, is it?”
I smiled and said nothing. I don’t make promises I can’t keep.

So tell me, If you’re a writer, where do you get your ideas?

Also, Random Acts, originally released in eBook format, is now available in print.Random Acts Alison Stone (200 X 300)

Blurb:Bitter experience left Danielle hesitant to open her heart. When a family crisis brings her home, the hard-nosed attorney is forced to face the man that let her get away. And that her sister’s accident was staged to mask a beating.
Though Patrick guards his heart, seeing Danielle again reignites their old flame. But no way will he bring her into his daughter’s life, not when her values on faith and family are so different from his own. Yet they must work together to bring a criminal to justice before everything is destroyed—including their second chance at forever.

Links for Random Acts:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Random-Acts-ebook/dp/B00795G1X4/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1362254466&sr=8-2
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/random-acts-alison-stone/1108890294?ean=9781609289386

ALISON STONE writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense and Samhain Publishing. Her debut novel, Random Acts, was a finalist for the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award in the unpublished inspirational category. Alison lives in Western New York with her husband of over twenty years and their four children where the summers are absolutely gorgeous and the winters are perfect for curling up with a good book—or writing one. Besides writing, Alison keeps busy volunteering at her children’s schools, driving her girls to dance, and watching her boys race motocross.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Alison_Stone or @Alison_Stone
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlisonStoneAuthor
Blog: http://alisonstone.wordpress.com/

13 thoughts on “Where Do You Get Your Story Ideas? Alison Stone Wants to Know”

  1. Great post Alison and Katy! It’s true that ideas seem to grow from the very ground around us. Life is a constant inspiration, and plucking those colorful blooms that will become our stories is seldom the challenge. It is instead finding the time to press, boil and strain those petals into long-lasting, sweet scents that provides the challenge. Thank you for the reminder!

  2. Alison,

    We are so happy to have you here today! You’re post is so true. I got my idea for my next release from learning about a deaf school where a lot of abuse occured through the years. I didn’t feel right exploiting the true story, but I was able to take what I learned and create a character that might have suffered through something similar.

    How close do you get to the true story when writing your own from these headlines?

  3. Wonderful post Alison and Katy. Since I am in the middle of my WIP, I enjoyed reading the process. Although I work from an outline, there are still ideas that come during this process that give me renewed energy.

    1. I find that even when I work from an outline, I get ideas through the process of writing, too. It’s amazing really. Sometimes I have to let the words flow and see what develops.

  4. Nice to have you here at the Scribes, Alison. Your books sound very entertaining. I have gotten a couple of my ideas from dreams, some inspired by true events, and some from asking that “what if” question. The coolest part for me is how once the seed is planted it blooms into a fully formed story in my head as if I’ve already seen it as a movie. Its a fascinating phenomenon.

  5. Thanks for stopping by. I find the whole process fascinating, too. Sometimes when I’m working on a scene something just “happens” that I wasn’t expecting. I think your comparison to a seed that blooms is a great one.

  6. Hi Alison and Katy,
    Sorry I’m late in coming to the party here 🙂 You’re right, the ideas sometimes to come from nowhere. I wake up with story ideas sometimes. Other times it’s a song or a snip of an overheard conversation. LIke Paula, I find I’m asking myself “what if” a lot. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

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