Where do the ideas come from?

A question I am frequently asked is where do the story ideas come from?  Truthfully, it’s still a mystery. I’m as surprised as anyone that it was my imagination that was responsible for the ideas that became The Gift Trilogy.


Image courtesy Hal Brindley @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

But what I’ve come to believe is that idea generation is a process.  It starts with a seed you may not even know you’ve sown.  The process is probably some deeply ingrained human problem-solving skill.  Apes in sub-Saharan Africa are likely doing the same thing.  While they’re busy picking bugs out of their mate’s hair, their subconscious is work- ing out how to keep the elephants from mucking up the watering hole.

For me, the seeds were sown when I started out on this writing journey and first envisioned Emelynn Taylor and the idea of an unbidden gift. New scenes would pop up at the strangest, often inconvenient times.  I learned not to go anywhere without a notebook and pen.  I’d find myself jotting down ideas that grew out of snippets of other people’s conversations or glimpses of interesting faces.  Sometimes it would be an ad or a photo that sparked an idea.

Even now, three books in, if I have difficulty with a particular scene, I tuck the problem away in my head and move on to write something else.  Sometimes it’s a scene; sometimes it’s a new character; other times it’s a building or location description.  For some reason, for me anyway, this process often shakes loose that elusive idea.  It may take a few hours or even days, but eventually the perfect idea trots along. The more I wallow in the story, the

Image courtesy of Hal Brindley at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Hal Brindley at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

more ideas  come to me.  Scenes that have no logical ending or segue magically sort themselves out while I’m gardening or vacuuming or peeling potatoes.

So though I don’t know where the ideas come from, as long as this vivid imagination of mine keeps amusing me, I’ll keep sowing seeds and harvesting the ideas, and let my subconscious figure out how the opposing thumb thing could improve my lot in life.

Leave a comment – I’d love to hear from you.


About JP McLean

Author of The Gift Legacy, a contemporary thriller with a twist of fantasy that will leave you believing the impossible and wary of the night sky…
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