Finding Ideas for Your Novel

Writers sometimes ask me where I find ideas for my stories. I tell them I find them everywhere, from family history to classified ads to daily encounters with people. 

My novel, The Madonna of Pisano, is based on a true incident in my paternal great-grandmother’s life. When I learned of this incident years ago, it struck me forcefully and would not leave my mind.  As I prayed, I felt strongly that our Lord wanted me to write her story. 

But although my story is based on an historical fact, it does not adhere strictly to that fact. I used the incident as a starting point for my story but took liberties along the way in writing it. 

Fiction is not a retelling of every fact of an incident or experience.  It is taking a fact or experience and using it as the kernel of a story.  

What incidents have inspired your stories?  We would love to hear from you! 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Finding Ideas for Your Novel

  1. I often get ideas from pictures. I’ll see something interesting and start playing the “What If?” game.

    I also banter ideas back and forth with my illustrator friend. We’re a great idea team!

    December 1, 2011 at 11:53 AM

    • You bring out two great points, Pam:

      1) The “what if” game. This game has spawned many a story and is one of my favorite tools for generating ideas.

      2) Brainstorming with a friend. I find brainstorming to be especially helpful if I’m stuck about what should happen next.

      Thanks so much for mentioning both of these outstanding tools.

      December 1, 2011 at 12:37 PM