Linda McNabb

Fantasy Books for All Ages

Where Do I Get Story Ideas From

Tuesday 28th June 2022


Where Do I Get Ideas For A Story?

A good idea is usually the basis of a story. Without an idea you probably don’t have a story to tell. The first question an author usually gets asked (after ‘How old are you?) is ‘Where do you get your ideas?’

Ideas come from anywhere, anytime, anything. This list is just a basic sample of where ideas can come from. Try one, try them all!


It’s not so common to get these now, but you may find a drawer full from years gone by. This also works well with old family photos, or photos of people you don’t know at all! Advertisements in magazines are great too.

Pick a postcard (or photo) with an interesting scene. It’s best if there’s a person in the picture, but okay if not.

  • Make up a new name for the location, a name for the person.
  • What were they doing just before the picture was taken/painted?
  • Where are they going?
  • Why are they there?
  • How do they feel right now?
  • What if you were suddenly in that picture too?
  • What if the person, animal or thing was suddenly in the room with you?

People watching

This one is easy. When you go out you’ll find a wealth of story ideas in the shopping malls, parks and anywhere that people gather. Stop for a few minutes, sit on a bench or lean against a wall and just watch the people around you. Be careful not to stare or be intrusive – nobody likes a nosy-parker!

Do this with a friend or just write down your observations.

  • Give them names, occupations, etc
  • If they have bags or parcels – what could be inside? Who is it for?
  • Why are they here?
  • What are they thinking?
  • Do they like the people they are with? Is it their family or have they just met? Where would they rather be?


Look in the daily paper. There are hundreds of headlines each day that could be converted into a unique story. Don’t just look at the main headlines; look at the small one-paragraph snippets too. A story about a long lost pet reunited with its owner may spark a story idea for you.

Other stories

Yes, it’s okay to get ideas from other people’s stories. As long as you don’t use their story or characters it’s possible to spin off a story off your own. Change it up – take a story and change the setting/time/ages/etc. Romeo and Juliet in the 21st Century would be a very different story. Pinocchio – have the boy turn into a puppet instead – and in a future setting.

Read other books in the same genre that you like to write.

The more you read, the more your imagination will grow and it helps to have a huge imagination to write.

Some great places to start for more information are the following ebooks.







Happy Writing!

View on Tumblr

Sunday 6th December 2020

The perils of author websites!

Linda McNabb

These days almost every person has a website, and maybe even two. It’s almost obligitary for an author to have one and to engage socially with the entire world, while still writing, usually-Indie-publishing, and trying to work out how and where to market their books.

All of these tasks, bar the actual writing, used to be done by the publisher. Now the author IS the publisher and life gets complicated. No wonder so many indie publishers struggle to make a living.

I would say I’m used to the juggle after many years but I don’t think anyone can really say they’ve mastered the art of doing it all well. The internet is changing so fast and when does anyone actually find time to do the creative writing that started it all? Let alone other life events that get in the way.

As I’ve said, we’ve all got websites. Do you remember to renew them on time? Hopefully I hear a resounding yes, of course! If not, beware for there are those out in the land of the interweb that are waiting to pounce.

How do I know this? I was busy, I was tired, I had sick family members. Surely just leaving the website for a couple of months wouldn’t matter. Did anyone even go there considering I didn’t have time to market it properly? That’s yet another can of worms and the subject of another post entirely. Where to spend money, and should I spend any… to draw traffic to my website? I will write such a blog for those who might be interested… when I’m not so busy!

But back to my busy life. I didn’t renew my website (and no, I’m not telling you what the website is because you’ll find out in a minute why!) and merrily went on with my busy life. I didn’t miss it too much. I figured that readers of my books would be bright enough to understand a ‘not found’ or ‘under construction’ message and come back later. Oh, did I mention I write books for children and fantasy-loving-adults?

A month or so later I decided I did miss playing with the mechanics of a website and basically pretending I was ‘working’ by doing so. An author will come up with almost any thin excuse to label what they’re doing as ‘writing’. Well, I will, and I stand by cloud-watching as a very relavent part of the writing process, as is people-watching. So, I decided to pick it up again and update it a little.

That’s where the problems started. I’ve got almost 30 books published and, inside and on the cover of every single one is my website. Also on a dozen library pages, reviews, newspaper links … well, you get the idea.

I went to renew my site. “Sorry, that URL is not available”

Pardon? What do you mean? I typed in my previous website address into my browser and was struck with a face full of very graphic adult images.

I must admit I stared at the page a little longer than any sane person would. I simply couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Now remember, I have literally thousands of links to this website and most of them are young children or mild-mannered-fantasy-loving-adults. Not ‘that’ type of fantasy!

So, what to do? How to fix this?

Those are two very good questions and I had no answers. Meanwhile my name and lifetime of hard work was leading unsuspecting people to this site.

To cut a very long story a little shorter (seriously, I can write shorter if I want) I couldn’t get my website back and had to create a new one.

Then I had to unpublish everything I’ve done in the last 30 years and redo both the internals and covers before the massive job of uploading it all again. Not to mention contacting every website I could find with a forwarding link. Not an easy task and it took me the best part of three weeks. I’m still not sure I’ve got it all. I still don’t have a presence back on Facebook, but that’s coming - in time.

I console myself that any ebooks online should automatically update on the readers’ kindles or other devices, but there’s nothing I can do about the paperbacks out in the wilds. All I can do is keep an eye on the availability of the old website and snatch it back if they let it lapse. And no, I don’t have to visit it to check on that, thankfully!

The moral of my nightmare? It’s simple. If you have a website with links leading to it and you’ve done a good job salting them around the internet.


You have been warned what can happen and I don’t want it to happen to anyone else.

Please share this warning with anyone you know that has a website that they don’t want taken over like mine was.

Dragons Rule!

Linda (

View on Tumblr