Where do story ideas come from? Everywhere…

My husband had gone to a client meeting, my son had just left to meet friends when I decided to have a break and make a drink. Back in my study, I put my coffee on my desk and it was then I realised, somebody had been into my room.

But I was alone.

Fear prickled at the back of my neck. On my keyboard, was a Biscoff.

‘Hello?’ I called into the silence which now felt heavy and oppressive.

Grabbing my phone, I called my son.

‘There’s somebody in the house,’ I whispered. ‘They’ve left a warning on my keyboard.’

‘A warning or a biscuit?’ He asked.

‘Was it you? But you’re not here?’

‘I found it in my pocket when I got to the bottom of the road and thought I’d pop it back as they’re your favourite. Seriously, mum how could you think it was creepy?’

‘Because somebody could want me to think I’m losing my mind, doubting my reality. They-‘

‘You’ve got an overactive imagination,’ he said.

It’s something I’ve heard throughout my life, usually accompanied by an eye roll and a sigh. My school reports often started with ‘Louise is such a daydreamer.’ I am but now, rather than seeing it as a flaw, as I’ve always been led to believe, I look upon it as something positive. Although gazing out of the window and making up characters in my head may be a problem in many jobs, without my over active imagination I wouldn’t be living out my life-long dream of being an author.

For Mother’s Day, my youngest son bought me a fizzy bath bomb from Lush. We’d not had them before and he wanted to watch as I dropped it into the bath. Just before I let it go he said ‘look mum, there’s a secret message!’

Inside a small hole on the top of the bomb there was a tightly rolled piece of paper.

‘What do you think it says?’ he asked excitedly.

‘I think it says ‘drown, bitch,’ I said. ‘I don’t think it’s supposed to be revealed until you’re in the bath and as you stare in confusion at the words you become aware of someone standing behind you-‘

‘A hand on the top of your head,’ he said (he writes too…)

‘Which pushes you underwater and holds you down until you stop struggling.’

The disappointment when we read it said ‘thanks’ was immense.

My three sons are used to me now. One called me to tell me he’d lost his wallet he quickly followed it up with ‘and no I don’t think anyone will find it and leave my ID at a murder scene.’

‘You never know,’ I said, darkly.

Last weekend, we took our dog for a country walk and my son pointed out the perfect place to hide a body. I didn’t roll my eyes and sigh, tell him he’s got an overactive imagination as though it’s a bad thing. Instead, I encouraged him to explore the idea, write it down. If all potential story-tellers were made to feel having a vivid imagination is a bad thing there wouldn’t be as many books and that would be a very sad world indeed.

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12 thoughts on “Where do story ideas come from? Everywhere…

  1. When I was about 8 years old, I went up to bed and there was a random wet patch on my carpet. I suddenly had visions of something odd happening, an alien invasion in my room, I looked in the mirror and… did I look different? Was something happening?? What was going on?

    Dad: its just dog wee, the pup got upstairs again.

    Got to love having an imagination 😁

  2. Love this Louise! I didn’t notice until reading your writing how often I have said to Lillian and Thomas, “That’s sounds like a great story. You should write about that!” … Thanks for helping me to see that I’m encouraging their imaginations! Hugs to you! 🙂 🙂

  3. I usually make us late by having a last minute tidy up in case something happens to us while we’re out – and after all, anything could happen when you go down the road to the greengrocers. I don’t want forensics sneering at the mess in the kitchen or the family summoned by the police because we haven’t been seen lately and they have to let the police in and find the place in a mess!

  4. I love this! One of my whodunits came from a vision I’d always had of a dead body in the Dulwich Picture Gallery. But love a biscuit being a harbinger of doom. Reminds me a bit of that brilliant scene in Sleeping with the Enemy when all the labels of the tins are aligned and you realise things are going to get Very Bad 🙂

  5. You’ve made me feel a whole lot better, Louise. I’m forever dashing to my laptop because an odd phrase, or media post, gives me an idea for a short story. My second book was written after my first publisher sent me an email saying something her secretary sent me, ‘must have got lost in the ether.’ 😀

Thanks so much for reading!

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