In searching around for something to blog about today, the best I could come up with was, “ugh, I don’t know.” I’m deep in a project right now and my mind has been occupied with that.

Anita suggested a few things, including “how do you come up with story ideas?”

I’d like to get better at documenting those moments when lightning strikes. Write down the idea, and include what I was doing at the moment when a random thought became the beginning of a story.

I think I’m like most writers. The ideas are always floating around, you only have to notice them.

Story Ideas | How a Children's Author Comes Up with Story IdeasI need quiet in order to come up with stories. It doesn’t work if I’m listening to podcasts, scrolling Facebook, or gobbling up videos on TV or the Internet. Consuming other people’s content might trigger something, but I’m much more likely to find a story when I’m staring off into space and letting my mind wander.

The idea for The Lonely Snowflake came to me while standing outside in the snow last Winter. I was casting about for an idea. Anita and I were planning our first book and it was up to me to find something interesting we could start with. I must have hit on the simple thought that no two snowflakes are alike. Except they are all very alike. They are more alike than different when you look at them the right way.

I don’t remember how the idea for The New Cat came to me. I must have been playing with the thought of a new arrival in the home, the older sibling dealing with the new baby coming home from the hospital. New Cat is a play on that idea with a twist.

There’s an obvious theme there. It’s not one we planned to write about, so it must be rolling around in my subconscious.

We are all the same. No matter what you look like, or where you come from, what language you speak, or how you dress, we can be friends.

Everyone is doing whatever they have to, to get through their day. For some of us, that means burying our heads in a great book. For others, it means getting another tattoo, or dying their hair purple and green. If it helps you cope, so be it. If you’re not hurting anyone, who cares?

The problem is that we do care, if only for a moment. “What was she thinking wearing that dress?” If it makes her feel good about herself, again, who cares? If we can’t look past our differences as adults, how can we expect our children to do so on the playground?

All of the big problems in the world today would be solved if we could just stop trying to force everyone else to be exactly like us. That’s a theme that is clearly important to me, and it’s loud and clear in our first two stories.

Not wanting to beat the same bush endlessly, I’ve been casting around for ideas that don’t rehash the same theme.

Elephant Overreacts was born out of my own reaction to what happens when I’m sitting on my front porch trying to write. I’m a pretty easy going guy, but every one in a while, something little can really get you going.

I have no idea where the idea for Goblin and Pig came from. I wanted to write a series about two friends having grand adventures together. There doesn’t always have to be a message. Maybe there is one, and I’m just not seeing it yet. Perhaps by book three it will become clear.

The number one question any author hears is “how do you come up with story ideas?”

The simple answer for me is “by being quiet and curious.”

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