Where My Ideas Come From

“Where do you get your ideas?” I get this question all the time. People don’t understand how I have written over ten books and how I keep coming up with ideas for more. Ideas though, are the easy part. And not just for books, I also get ideas for short stories, video games, board games, and roleplaying games. I’m constantly creating, even if all of those ideas don’t make it all the way to publication.

So where do my ideas come from?

Roleplaying Games

For novels, especially, most of my ideas come from roleplaying games I’ve either played in or that I have run for others to play. Roleplaying with my close-knit friend group is where I workshop my ideas for plots, characters, and settings. The Crimson Winter Trilogy, for example, is based on the story of a game I played in told by Adam Giles. Unintended, on the other hand, uses some characters and elements of the setting and plot from a game I ran called Ten Nations, where the players were all ambassadors sent to the royal court on behalf of their respective nations.

Movies/Shows/Games/Books

Another place I get inspiration from, although much more loosely, is from the media I consume. I love stories. I can’t get enough of them. I’ve certainly absorbed a lot from all the movies and shows I’ve watched, the games I’ve played, and the books I’ve read and these things influence my technique when it comes to writing.

Travel

Another way I like to inspire myself or gather ideas is to travel. Being a fantasy/sci-fi author means I have to describe a lot of foreign locales and things I’ve never seen but can only imagine. Neo Central, my futuristic city, for example, was derived from combining my experiences in Tokyo, Seoul, Ottawa, and Toronto. Usually though, I just pay attention to the way things are done in other cultures and places and I note the architecture and the other details that make a setting unique. This past February I spent in New Orleans has already been filed away for possible use in a future book.

Life/People watching

Now, I don’t tend to use my own life as inspiration for my stories, but a lot of authors do, so I thought I would include it on this list. Instead of my own experiences, I like to people watch wherever I go and imagine what their lives might be like or what they might be going through. Seeing them for such a short amount of time with such a limited perspective and inventing a story about them is like a writing exercise in and of itself.

Where do your ideas come from? Did I miss anything? Feel free to add to this list in the comments below! Thanks for reading.

One thought on “Where My Ideas Come From

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  1. Except for role playing games, that’s how I get most of my ideas. However, The Last Timekeepers time travel series came about through a dream. Scotch helps a wee bit too… LOL! Cheers!

    Liked by 2 people

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