Where Do I Find Story Inspiration??

  Hey guys! Hope you've had a good week. It's been mega-cold out here in the Canadian prairies with wind-chills to -37 and a huge dump of snow in the middle of the week (I had a fun adventure trying to escape the clogged city roads in my car, and subsequently navigate the unplowed country roads) but at least it's a pretty winter wonderland? I guess...? Tbh, I'm kinda ready for the spring weather at this point...

  Anywho, today I thought I'd talk about finding story inspiration, specifically ways in which I find and generate new ideas for books and novels (not that I have to go trying to generate new ideas, they are kind of always plaguing me in the back of my mind). Sometimes finding inspiration can be hard, especially when you are new to this whole writing gig. So here are 3 surefire ways to glean new inspiration for your novels, whether they be totally new ideas, or you need to flesh out something you're already working on.


  This is something I've been utilizing a lot in the last few years. Asking what-if? can be a great jumpstart to a story, and it generally means you've got your hook and blurb covered! A what-if question can be as vague as "what if aliens invaded the earth?" to as specific as "what if aliens invaded earth by overtaking human bodies like parasites, erasing their conscience and personality?" Which is the plot of The Host by Stephenie Meyer (her very best book by a large, large margin). I find that the more specific your "what-if" can be, the more interesting your premise becomes.

Examples of my own "what-if" inspiration:

  • Faithless: What if the person you loved was really your enemy all along and after they hurt you, you had to be the one to judge them?
  • These Comforts We Despise: What if you took the story of Cleopatra and made it sci-fi?
  • Thin-Skinned: What if a man lost his wife and was forced to accept her clone as a replacement?


  Listening to music or looking at photos can be some of the most inspirational activities for writing. Have you ever heard a song that told the story of one of your characters SO WELL that you might as well just write out the lyrics in a document, print it out, and publish that because there's NO-FREAKING-WAY you will be able to write anything to explain this person more clearly than this totally unrelated song does? It's a mixed blessing, but honestly, I live for finding character-relevant music.

  Or when you see a photo of a place, or a face, or a situation that just makes you go "AHHH, that's what I was looking for." Isn't that the most satisfying feeling? You know it is. That's what we spend hours and hours of wasted time on Pinterest for, ladies and gents.

  Examples of Visual/Audio inspiration for me:

  • The song Little Lion Man by Mumford & Sons is absolutely the theme to my MC Falaroy from my fantasy The War of the Three Crowns. I don't know if I've ever heard a song fit someone so perfectly. 
  • The photo below inspired my plot-bunny, Elsie, a story of a girl with mysterious gifts with which to save or destroy the seaside town in which she lives. I loved the idea of a young girl and a story full of pink and powers and in a seaside setting. 

  • For my novel Faithless, the song Save Yourself by Birdy really spoke to me more about the main character of Saagar, with lyrics that really helped me delve into her emotions and thought processes with Damien.


  Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction - especially when it's fiction INSPIRED by a bit of real-world truth. If you've ever heard a news story, seen a quirky person in the street, heard your grandpa tell you a thrilling story from when he was a boy, then you are neck-deep in real-world inspiration that can be utilized in big and small ways in your story. Why, even your own life is probably ripe with creative possibilities. All it takes is a little reworking and a little imagination, sometimes hardly any at all!

  Some of my examples include...

  • My action series, The Imperium Files, was inspired by real-life MK Ultra experiments and the epidemic of child-soldiers around the world.
  • I was inspired the write The Sorceress and the Squid because of a late-night cyber conversation I had with Jonathan, who was then neither my husband or my boyfriend, about how he had a secret ninja squid alter-ego.
  • How I Could Have Saved Your Life, the story of a boy writing letters to his deceased friend, was at least partially influenced by the suicide of a friend and the epidemic of bullying in North American school systems.
  • Calvary was inspired by the Kurdish Women Freedom Fighters and historical events in the book of Exodus, where an epidemic of gender-specific infanticide leads to a generation of women soldiers rising up to defend their homes and families.

  Sometimes inspiration can seem fleeting and hard to find, but ultimately it's really just about having your eyes and ears open to the world around you, where life is flying by at a million miles and hour, with adventures and stories and plot bunnies galore for anyone to reach out and latch onto. Honestly, someday my brain will explode from all the information it's been collecting over the years! May I encourage you today, even if you aren't necessarily a writer, to take a look at the world around you and see it brimming over with stories. Whether you ever get the chance to write them down or not, it's kind of cool just to see it.

  And there you are! Three of my favorite ways to inspire my stories, and some of the ways I was inspired. What are some things you do to jumpstart your imagination? What was the weirdest way you were ever inspired to write a story? Let's talk!


  1. Great sources! Music is a major inspiration for me. Mumford and Sons made it on my list with the song The Cave for one of my characters as he addresses his brother. The most recent addition to my current WIP playlist is Rival by Ruelle. It's a slower song, but the lyrics and feel totally fit the character. Then you've got the character's husband who has more upbeat tunes like Andy Grammer's Good to be Alive.

    Wow! You're really prolific. That's impressive. I only saw The Sorceress and the Squid on your books page. Are your other stories/books listed out somewhere?

    1. Thanks very much! Music is just great for inspiring stories, I love how art mediums are so intertwined - and Mumford and Sons is a great band, I love their sound! I can't say as I've written many characters who would relate to "Good to Be Alive", haha, but that's an awesome song for a playlist.

      Thank you. :) The Sorceress and the Squid is my only published piece, I have a few other finished works and then some partially written and some only in the idea stage. I just hoard them like a dragon hoarding gold! And yes, you can read about the other non-published items under the "Upcoming Projects" header at the top of my blog. Thanks for your interest!

    2. Yeah, my character is actually my main character for the series. He's a plucky guy who just escaped being locked in a cave with a radioactive sludge pool only to explode due to channeling too much power. It's only after his body gets put back together that "Good to Be Alive" hits the playlist. ;)

      Dude, your image collages for your stories are so cool! Very thought provoking and gorgeous to look at. You've certainly got a good eye for it.

    3. That sounds like a wild story! I would never have considered the possibility of that song being on a book playlist, but you've opened my eyes to tap into a totally different tone of music!

      Thank you very much! Pinterest certainly played a huge part. ;)

  2. This is so cool!

    And Faithless sounds EPIC.

    1. Thank you!! I am hoping Faithless will turn out to be so, haha!


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