Where the stories come from - a look at my writing process
I've talked about this before, but it comes up time and again. People always want to know where the stories I write come from. What's interesting is the people you meet who try to tell you they have a great idea for a story. Hey, you should write about - XYZ. That would be a great book!
I always appreciate that. My own father was a consistent source. In fact, from time to time, those suggestions are good enough to get stored away in my brain somewhere or a notebook. But for the most part, the stories I come up with tend to come from things around me. I think it has to do with my obsession with the weird.
For some reason I have become a collector of paranormal stories. I can remember watching In Search Of... when I was a kid. Then, as I got older, for some reason, people started telling me their ghost stories. Tales of seeing things out of the corner of their eyes. The story of the grandfather who had been buried appearing at the front door then vanishing. The other story of the toe tug while sleeping in the bed of a home where a grandmother had passed.
UFOs, stories of cryptids, vanishing hitchhiker tales. I have read about them. I have collected them. I have watched videos and shows about them. Urban legends? I love them. The amazing thing about them is that most urban legends, buried deep, deep with them, is some kernel of truth.
But for me, I love taking that kernel and then ruminating on it. I start thinking about it and thinking, the story turning and churning within my brain. Then, expand the story from there.
Sapphire - I have read many vanishing hitchhiker stories. I saw a special about ghosts and saw the tale of a young woman in a lavender dress picked up one the side of the road by teenagers and then vanishing. I thought about expanding the story, making one boy particularly special, and changed the dress color because I happen to like blue more than purple.
The Man from Taured - well, you can look up that story all on its own. It's an old urban legend, but I just transferred the locati
on to O'Hare and to modern day. I decided it would be interesting if there was an investigator from Homeland involved in trying to find this weird dude who showed up and vanished. The story grew from there and become a detailed explanation of alternate dimensions.
The Revisionists - reading about the theory of the Mandela Effect gave me pause. What if someone had invented technology to actually make it real, and what would that person change about history? How big of an event would they try to change and what damage would it do to the present or the future?
Those are things you can look up, but there are other stories with other origins.
Storyland - seeing a
carnival going on near where I was shopping. I took a photo. Then, I started thinking about something bad happening at a carnival, this led to the story of an old murder, repressed memories. Voila.
After the Snowfall - I was out walking my dog during the summer when I suddenly imagined the street I was on in the middle of winter after a huge snowstorm. I clearly pictured three men walking down the middle of a snow covered road as if they had no worried in the world. All three of them dressed in black.
The Lightning Weaver - My wife told me the story of a number of times in her life where storm
s came and it seemed lightning struck very close to where she was. I originally called the story The Lightning Bringer, but then it became more about controlling lightning than bringing it. It was also the first story in a series.
The Lord of Winter - I have always enjoyed the cold. While visiting a local grocery store during the winter, dressed in a long black coat, gloves and a hat, the wind kicked up suddenly. I even closed my fists and my eyes for a minute and imagined I was controlling this sudden snow squall. Voila.
TEXT - I was going for a walk during my lunchtime at work. I suddenly had a clear image of a man getting a text message with a video attached. He watches it and sees it's from the future - showing his family being brutally murdered. However, as I wrote it, the horror of that was slowly replaced with the horror of a good man forced to do truly horrible things to try and save his family.
There are memes out there created by writers that the friends or enemies of writer should be careful. That anything the say or do might end up in one of their books. This is also true. I have included many a character based on friends and enemies alike.
So, where do your ideas come from? What have you written about and why?
The Revisionists is Bryan Alaspa's new novel and is coming out in March 2019. Preorder the book via Amazon today. Click on the cover image below.