Where do authors get their story ideas from?
That's a question I'm often asked and it's one that the characters in my children's book ANTics can help answer.
My three heroes have six legs and two strange looking things on the top of their head that look like an old fashioned television aerial. They're called antennae. In fact, likening them to a TV aerial isn't too way off the mark because they pick up signals just like an aerial. They detect chemical odors in their surroundings, air currents, and vibrations and also transmit and receive signals through touch. In the same way we use sight and sound. That’s how they get the majority of information about what’s going on.
Authors have an antenna as well - a story idea antenna. The only difference is, it’s invisible. But don’t be fooled - it’s there all the same. You just have to be aware it’s there and use it.
When I worked as a newspaper reporter one of the things people always wanted to know was: "Where do you get your stories from?" My answer was always the same: "From everywhere." They came to me all the time but not by magic. I invested a lot of time reading, listening, watching and talking.
I read everything; newspapers, books, leaflets, flyers. The whole article, or a paragraph, a sentence or a single word can spark an idea. I listen; to the radio, music, my family, friends, strangers, people in shops, in the street, in restaurants. And if your antenna is perked up, it gathers interesting words, phrases, stories and all kinds of cool information to squirrel away.
I watch; TV, movies, people; their expressions, their body language. I talk (a lot) and when you talk to people, they talk back - and that’s when you hear the good stuff.
As an author, you need to keep your antennae finely tuned to pick up all those potential story ideas out there.
Find out how I got my story idea for my children’s novel ANTics by visiting my ANTics page.