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The Voices Aren't Real, But They Have Some Great Ideas

Our Authors talk about where they get their ideas.

Judy Snyder

I think everything has a story to tell; from the sighing of the wind, to that animal seen darting across the road, to that weird coffee ring the mug left this morning. It might be a bit of overheard conversation, or a memento handed down for generations. Or perhaps it's hiding in a box of bits and bobs, or the look in a stranger's eyes. The stories are there just waiting to be heard.

Ancient legends and half-forgotten lore are wonderful sources too as is history.

Ideas come from everywhere, born on the wind, whispered by the imagination.

Rachel Roth

Some ideas come randomly, but usually, they come from an epic fantasy movie, not real, that I’ve been making up and playing in my head for years. I add characters all the time, worlds, cities, planets, and just play fragments when I need to decompress after a long day. I would never try to write any of it down, or even explain what it is to people because by this point it’s gotten so complicated that I don’t think anyone would ever understand it, but whenever I get an itch to write a story, it’s because I want to explore a certain detail or character from this complicated fantasy that I play to metal music every night. If this sounds weird it's because it is, don’t try to make sense of it. I can barely make sense of it. My thoughts play out like a movie, I can’t help it.

Other ideas come to me though through music and dreams. A few years ago, I put on some headphones and played the soundtrack to The Witch in the dark. There’s one track that sounds like someone running through the woods, coming right towards you, and because I was in the dark, I could easily imagine this figure in the room with me, racing toward me with intent to harm. It creeped me out and I had to stop the music, but it then gave me an idea for a novel that I’m currently working on.

Jack LaFountain

I’ll never be famous as a writer. All the successful ones say they are annoyed by this question and have no idea where they get their ideas. I know where every one of my ideas came from. It’s just that I have no single source.

I wrote a rather lengthy ghost story (yet unpublished) from a picture shown to me of a woman in a green cloak with one hand held out into the wind. The picture was accompanied by the question, “What’s going on in this picture?” My answer was, “She’s thinking about jumping off the cliff she’s standing on.” (There was no cliff in the picture.) Later that day, I was listening to the song No Sugar Tonight, and—boom—there was the story. One of the book’s main characters later materialized from the song, She’s Not There.

Bayou Moon sprang from a sort of movie scene that played in my head. The scene turned out to be the first chapter of the book. Mann of God Redemption came from a scene in my head that was cut from the book by the editor.

To be honest, I don’t really get ideas—they lurk in their secret places and jump out to get me.

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