Where do I Get my Ideas for Stories?

The Three Novels of the Jonas Watcher Series
I have now written three novels in the Jonas Watcher series. I have three more I am trying to organize as to which one I will choose next. There are another three or four on the back burner. Initially, I get an idea and I let my imagination run with it. After awhile I will bring it into focus and I will create a working title. I put that on my computer and then I will add notes and comments until it begins to flesh itself out, and then I will begin my outline.

My outline doesn't follow any format, no numbers, no indentation, no structure except that I create chapter titles, (working titles) for thought organization. I have had as many as three going at one time in this mode, though new ideas pop up all the time. While I am in the outlining mode, usually one story will find itself in the forefront of my imagination and that will be the next novel in the series.

Gene Poschman
I have been to a number of conferences and invariably someone asks a writer, "Where do your ideas come from?" or something of that nature. It wasn't until I was asked that question when I realized there is no short answer. There are a number of common replies that will satisfy an audience, and as far as they go they are true. But in fact, the question does not have a simple quick answer, at least not for me. Every book or story has its own genesis and while some stories may share whatever mental parentage that occurs with my imagination there is always an element of uniqueness within their birth.

So how do I answer the question that reveals the intricate elements of parentage? Tell each novel's story of origin. As for my quick answer, there are stories all around us, you just have to be open to allowing them access to your imagination.

The next title in this series is "The Case of the Running Bag - The Creation of Jonas Watcher".

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