When Ideas Attack!

Story ideas. Coming up with one is the best! When it happens—BAM! My head pounds, my appetite flees, and I speak noticeably less. (But really, it’s less like the flu than I’ve made it sound.)

My first story idea barged its way into my life, uninvited, five years ago. I was shoveling snow with a ‘snow shovel’—aka a rusty piece of metal stuck on a weathered pole—when out of the blue . . . BAM! Idea! The complicated characters and storyline evolved while I scraped the ice and sweated. Strangely, it wasn’t about a snowy tundra or housewives forced into manual labor.

BAM! My next idea hit a year later—the one that HopeSpings Books has kindly offered to publish. This time I was at a church, staring at a wooden podium carved with a nature scene. Usually I hang on that speaker’s every word, but this day was a review day—a review of Genesis, which we’d studied all year. While her words slid over me, part of her message became lodged in my mind, tangled with that podium scene.

I came straight home, locked my kids in their rooms, sat at my laptop, and whipped up a 40-page outline. I then released my children and followed this up with two months of not looking once at my outline. (This is where perseverance—or my lack of it—comes in. I’m saving that discussion for a later blog.)

I now have thirteen story ideas. Each time one clobbers me, my reaction is pure excitement. I want to drop everything, stop writing on my current project, and plunge into a new one featuring ‘the Idea.’

I can’t. If I did, I’d never be able to type ‘The End’ on a manuscript—and believe that I did my best.

But coming up with story ideas . . . there’s nothing like it. Try it. And let me know what inspires you.