Kicking Around Story Ideas

Recently, Katy Upperman blogged about where she gets her story ideas, so I figured now it was my turn.

And so I present to you a post in two parts.

Part One: The Snatching of SNIs

People get ideas from many things: songs, people they know, things that have happened, things overheard, etc. I have my history degree to thank for my wealth of ideas, since pretty much every single idea I’m currently writing or will write in the future has been inspired by something I learned in a history class. Calanthe, the MC of SHARDS (my YA fantasy WIP), was inspired by Isabella of France, the wife of Edward II of England. The dualist religion that plays a huge part in the story is loosely based on the medieval sect of Catharism; the political conflict is based on the Wars of the Roses. My NA dystopian fantasy, FIRE, was inspired by the Spanish Inquisition, which I took an entire class about in college (and it was totally AWESOME). I have a whole host of other ideas in the queue, too, inspired by everything from the Byzantine Empire to the (Second) Defenestration of Prague.

Which brings me to…

Part Two: The Captivity of SNIs

I have TOO MANY IDEAS to write them as soon as I get them, so I have a document that’s basically a word vomit of any thoughts I have in relation to these ideas, filed under such descriptive titles as “prostitute assassin Byzantium plague story.” I find it actually helps to let my ideas sit for awhile, anyway, because while they’re sitting, they have a tendency to develop a little more so that when I DO finally get around to writing them, I already have a basic idea of what I’m going to write – even though actual outlining is a pretty new thing for me.

Where do your SNIs come from? Do you write them as you get them, or do you file some away for later?

10 thoughts on “Kicking Around Story Ideas

  1. mshatch says:

    Very similar! History is a great source, or the news. I got an idea for a short story from a news article about a supposed sorcerer being executed somewhere. And like you I jot these ideas down in files where I hope they will germinate into something bigger 🙂

  2. Rebecca Barrow says:

    With you on the word-vomit-ideas thing–I have so many Scrivener docs filled with half-outlines and run-on sentences that it’s verging on ridiculous. I just cross my fingers and hope that some of them turn out good!

  3. katyupperman says:

    Okay, I’m sort of jealous of your history background. I can see how all that knowledge of that past would lead to a wealth of story ideas. And I think I need to be better about documenting my ideas. If a story idea doesn’t grab me immediately, I usually let it go. If I were to write it down, it might develop and grow into something useable. Huh. (And now I am done musing…)

    I’ve been enjoying your A-Z posts. Happy writing, Steph!

    • Stephanie Allen says:

      I thought about majoring in creative writing for about two seconds, but I’m really glad I went the history route, instead. I think it’s been so much more helpful to my writing than my creative writing classes would’ve been. (I had to take one for my humanities endorsement, and basically all I learned was I should keep doing the things I was already doing. Don’t need to pay thousands of dollars for that…)

  4. colbymarshall says:

    Oh. My. Gosh. I have that EXACT SAME word vomit document- it is indecipherable to anyone but me (and sometimes, maybe not even me!) Thanks for stopping by my blog yesterday. Come back soon!

  5. Ann P Philip says:

    Hi thanks for dropping at my place and for the comment too,
    nice to know that you are in with the a to z challenge. Keep inform. that is really good to know about your ideas where it comes and how you deal with it. its really interesting to note this, i get some idea or inspiration immediately i note down in a small note book which is always handy. then i develope it thats its

  6. Jaime says:

    Those ideas sound AWESOME! When I did my Education degree, my major was in English and my minor was in History. For whatever reason, they transferred a bunch of courses into my History minor (I transferred from a different program) which meant I only had room for two History courses to fill my minor. I was seriously bummed. I love history! So I think your ideas sound great and I’ve love to read stories based off of those real-life events. Very cool. 🙂

  7. robinhallwrites says:

    I let my ideas marinate a bit before I write down anything. If the idea stays with me, it’s a “possible” winner. Now I’m wishing I liked history. What a wealth of knowledge and ideas to pull from:)

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