Every author gets asked “where do you get your story ideas from?” and I suspect every author has a different answer. In my case, the ideas come from things I see and hear around me every day. For instance, the rhyme Making Friends (working title) came about through two people in my life mis-hearing names. It still makes me giggle now.

Here’s the story:

My son was maybe 6-years-old and asked to watch one of his favourite DVDs. It was called Bombad Bounty but he did not know that, as will become clear. We had a snuggle on the sofa while watching this short Lego Star Wars movie and when it came to an end, he asked me “Which one is Barry?” As I had no knowledge (still don’t) of Star Wars I was baffled in any case. I only knew of R2D2 and C3PO – the main stars of the film we’d just watched. As is frequently the case with children, it was necessary to unpick his question, “It’s called Big Bad Barry, so I want to know which one is Barry.”

Just a few days later, I was watching TV with my daughter. Despite this blog centre-ing on me sitting on the sofa watching television, we did (and still do) other things – honest! We were watching her favourite CBeebies show: Tree-Fu Tom. I must say that this was one of my favourites too, and I do miss it now she’s older and no longer interested in CBeebies. Daddy walked into the room, heard the character’s name and asked what See-Through Tom was all about.

Naturally, Big Bad Barry and See-Through Tom were destined to become friends, and they needed their own story.

So, how do I get from an idea to a story? Again, I am sure different authors have different methods. I have different methods on different days! My two favourites are:

  • Allow an idea to percolate through my mind for a few days
  • Write the story little-by-little
  • Review the story and improve it
  • Dive into writing the story as soon as the idea pops into my head, otherwise it will be lost forever
  • Write the whole story in one session or I will lose the flow

Lum, Making Friends and my latest story, Princess Perfect, all followed the second method. Lum’s Mum, Brave Brian and (My) Hero followed the first. I’m still not happy with the ending of (My) Hero, and am undecided whether the title needs the possessive My.

Once the story has been written, the next step is editing. I’m not very disciplined with editing. Often if a story hasn’t inspired me during the writing, even though I know it is there in my notebook, I won’t look at it again for months. The ones I love get more attention and passed on to Nic for illustrations, and then finally on to the self-publishing company to be made into books.

I wish I could produce more books, but it all takes time, especially the illustrations. The writing is often the quickest part of the process.

This month, I have joined a Creative Writing course at a local college. I am very much looking forward to finding out what I can create, developing my voice, learning how to write dialogue and of course learning more about editing. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Now you know how I write stories, are you inspired? What will you create? Get in touch to let me know.