Like all writers, I occasionally get asked where I get my ideas for stories. For me, the ideas come from characters. I love to read a book where the characters are so well written that it feels like you are sitting in the same room with them. Stories are so much more interesting when I really feel like I know the character.
As a teenager, my friends and I used to make it a game to see who could come up with the best story. We would sit in a fast food restaurant or a park and watch the people around us. Then we would take turns telling who the people were and what they were up to. I still swear we saw Stevie Wonder's chauffeur making a quick stop in McDonald's to pick up a happy meal for Stevie. You see there was this toy...
On Saturday I took my daughter shopping. We were in the mall and sat in the food court for awhile having something to drink. While we sipped our drinks I taught her a little about observing and finding characters for stories (she is an aspiring author as well). We watched the people around us and took note of the little things that made each person unique. Like the group of people that walked by us dressed in black and chains. They were trying to make a statement, but what about the boy that trailed behind slightly looking around like he was afraid someone might see him in that get-up. What is his story? Something simple like the girl with a broken leg, turned into a trapeze artist who had a little accident...or was it and accident? The stories go on.
I love making stories with her and we both have fun coming up with interesting ideas together. I tell her that someday we may just have to write a book together. But first we'll need to make a quick trip to McDonald's.