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Saw an interesting interview with Stephen King — where do you get story ideas?


If you’ve hung out around here much, you already know that I’m a Stephen King fan. I would say he ranks as one of my top five favorite fiction writers. (Number one would be Larry Block, number two Dean Koontz, number three James Patterson, then probably … oh, well, anyway, that wasn’t my point.)

King has a newly released novel that, according to the interviewer, has been praised as perhaps his best work ever: “Duma Key” is the name of it, and it’s set in Florida. I should mention that a quick “Google” for the book led me to a review in “The Seattle Times” which applauded the book but also pointed out some real flaws and did NOT think it King’s best work ever. It was a positive review, however.

The point of this post is not the new book but King’s explanation of the thought process which led him to the basic story idea for the book in an interview on “The Today Show.” (If you have the patience to sit through a commercial message before the interview, you can see the clip here.) He was walking alone and came to a corner and began to wonder what might be around that corner. Then he saw a sign which said, “Caution Children,” and immediately thought, “What kind of children would be here that we need to be cautious of?”

I love the insight into King’s creative mind, and I think of times when this somewhat “slanted” or offbeat point of view has come to me in seemingly “normal” situations and led to the spark of an idea for a somewhat bizarre story.

You’ve probably had such sparks of quirky ideas too as a writer, haven’t you? Tell us about some. I wouldn’t expect you to give away any ideas, story lines, or whatever that you’re developing. But perhaps you’ve got something that you’ve always thought was a bit odd that you’d like to share with us? For example, I have three chapters of a maybe-never-to-be-finished novel gathering dust on my hard drive that started with this thought: “What happens when a guardian angel fails?”

Tell us some of yours.