Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Stories, stories everywhere

by Jean C. Gordon

Readers often ask, "Where do you get your story ideas? "My short answer is "Life." Maybe I should refine that to "Ordinary Life."

For instance the idea for my first published book, a sweet romance from Avalon Books, came from the experience of another family that was adopting a Korean baby from the same agency we used to adopt our son. The Korean agency had a strict rule of allowing only married couples to adopt its children. Sadly, after a child was placed with a local family, the mother died before the adoption was finalized. Initially, the agency wanted to take the child back. I don't know what actually happened, but the resolution in my story is a happy one--naturally.

An article I read at work in The Wall Street Journal  planted the seed of my second Avalon book. It was about a financial planner who scammed older people. In my book, the hero's grandmother was scammed. My heroine works for the practice that scammed her. Of course, she knows nothing about it. But the hero doesn't know that.

Small-Town Sweethearts, my first Love Inspired Romance grew from a comment a family member made about how she liked their new church because it was more formal, and she could worship privately there. In contrast, I really like our church because of the fellowship the congregation shares. I started thinking about the value of Christian fellowship and how different people perceive it, and the story unfolded.

An incident my daughter experienced as a midwife inspired my latest Love Inspired, Small-Town Midwife. I thought, what if Autumn, my midwife heroine, no longer has the confidence to catch babies. Then, I brought in Dr. Jon Hanlon who exudes nothing but confidence in his technical app roach to delivering babies. How could a romance not develop?

Think about your life. How many story ideas do you see?


  1. Hi Jean - I get my inspirtion from the world around me also. JESSIE'S WEDDING grew from the time my son was a ring bearer in a wedding and didn't want to hold the flower girl's hand. Yet, by the end of the reception, the flower girl told me that when she grew up, she was going to marry Jarrett. The writer in me said "humm- what if,,,"

    FALLING FOR YOU came out of my love of hockey and BLUE DIAMOND was loosely based on the terrible crash of the Thunderbirds.

    I think every writer's story must get a seed from something they experieince.

    Great post - thanks for sharing

  2. I think the question most often asked when writers do a presentation, is "Where do you get your ideas?" I always think "if you have to ask, you're not meant to be a writer." Of course, I never say that.

    Handwriting analysis plays a part in the book that's about to be released. The idea for that came when I came across a book about graphology at the library book sale.

  3. When asked that question, my first reply is, "What do you do when you're stuck in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles or in a traffic jam that's going nowhere?" Because I'm looking at the people around me, wondering what brought them to my universe. Depending on their expression, their clothing, snippets of conversation I overhear, a story is born. :-)

  4. The story idea for my first book, Brooklyn Ballerina came from an article in the Wall Street Journal's center column. Sandy's comment is so true, if someone has to ask where ideas come from then they don't have a story to tell.

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  6. Jean, I had to just pop in to tell you I not only enjoyed your blog post, but how much I love your Love Inspired covers.

  7. Ideas. I think readers get ideas, but I think writers are particularly messed up. :) I once wrote a book based on the thought, "hmmm, I wonder what would happen if an untrusting 13 year old in the care of her grandparent woke up one morning to find that her grandfather had died in his sleep?" The answer came in the next breath. "She'd continue operating her grandfather's still and support herself on the sale of moonshine, of course."