Story Settings From Abandoned Buildings & Mysterious Places
Where do story ideas come from?
I just finished editing my novel last week which I’m super excited about. It's a young adult speculative thriller set in the late 21st century at an orphanage where things are not what they seem. I’m sad that the story is over, but now I’m getting the nagging feeling that the building in my story wants another role. That got me thinking about ideas for a sequel, a story spookier than this thriller.
So, yesterday afternoon, I turned to a book on haunted buildings and other places called Haunted Britain and Ireland by Richard Jones. I’ve had this book on my shelves for the last fifteen years, but I never really gave it more than a quick look-through. (It’s safe to say I have a book addiction. Have I read all the books on my shelves? Ah, nope. But I’m working on it! :))
Anyway, I don’t have any solid ideas yet, just little glimpses of ideas, but the more I explore, the more ideas I’ll have and the more concrete they’ll become.
There’s an incubation period for story ideas, and some of them require more time. Earlier this year, I was working on a middle-grade literary novel and after I finished the first draft, I thought I’d be returning to the young adult series I had set aside for a little while. But then one morning, I woke up with the image of a teenaged girl in an orphanage, and my conclusion: well, it looks like I’ll be writing a ghost story next.
It was a whirlwind for my emotions. I’ve never cried so much in my life, let alone while writing a story. This one tugged at my heart so much, and the story was itching to get out. It flowed onto the page with only minor guidance from me. There’s so much to this story, and I was amazed, really, by how it all came together.
Writing a novel like this is so fun. And coming up with ideas… there’s just something about it that draws me in. Ideas are everywhere. They’re in books we read, they’re in the news, they’re in overheard conversations, they’re in images of abandoned buildings and misty forests, they’re in places we least expect to find them. And they’re in our mind if we’re open to seeing them.
But all of those places are just the starting point. You start with the initial concept or idea and then you brainstorm. You let your mind wander. You ask yourself questions and write down scenarios.
So, when we think about where story ideas (and story settings) come from, they may start with a basic idea, but they don’t end there. We put our own spin on the story by creating characters that are dying to come out and play. We give them backstory, conflict, goals, and motivations, and then we put those characters in situations that get them to react (and act) the only way they know how. The story, the struggle and desperation to reach the goal, all of it draws us in and allows us to connect in an emotional way.
I’m excited for where the continuing story will take me next, and I hope readers will enjoy the story as much as I did. I’ll be in touch with news on its cover design and release date very soon!
In the meantime, I thought I'd share some photos of abandoned buildings and mysterious places that could make great story settings. I'd love to hear which one is your favorite! Please share below in the comments!
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- The Adventures in Writing Novels for a Variety of Ages & Genres - November 9, 2017
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