Where do your story ideas come from by Renee Knowles

Where do your story ideas come from? 


As an author, many people ask me where my story ideas come from. Often, I answer, “I don’t know.” I wish I had a better reply for them, but ideas are sketchy little creatures who either bless you with their presence or leave you searching frantically for them. On Karen Kendall’s website, one of my fave authors, she says she keeps them in her fridge with the chocolate. Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to find any in there. Although, the chocolate is plentiful.   

Instead, my story ideas come to me in the shower, as I’m trying to get to sleep, or while I’m on a plane about to take off and can’t get up to grab a pen out of my briefcase to write it down. My problem has never been finding ideas, it has been trying to capitalize on all the ideas I have.  

It seems like ideas are everywhere. The idea for my current release, Going Topless, came to me while sitting in an outdoor café in Amsterdam, looking at the beauty and romance of the city. I thought about how this was the perfect place to set a story about sisters who were looking for love and to find themselves. 

I have a new series coming out this year from Siren Publishing revolving around a male escort service called, Pleasures, Inc. The idea for this series came to me when I wondered what really goes on behind the scenes at an escort service. And how much fun would it be to take away some of the usual romance inhibitions of a first date, and let our imagination wander on two people who were seeking only pleasure and companionship? 

But, though the initial idea for a story usually comes easy for me, developing that story into actual chapters can be much more difficult. They take a lot of research and deliberate concentration to make sure the story flows well and engages the reader.  

At that stage, most of my ideas come from reading and real life experiences. There is a lot to be gained from reading, and the ideas just jump off the page. Suddenly, you start thinking, “What if, instead of my character doing X, they do Y?” Or maybe you are checking out a microfilm of an old newspaper, and an item really interests you. You start to wonder what would happen if a similar situation overcame your heroine, or maybe, instead, the exact opposite situation.  

And then you are back to having too many ideas. Which can be a crux in itself. Because soon I want to write them all. And alas, there is only so much time in a day.  

So, I note my idea, grab a piece of chocolate from the fridge, and sit down to write and finish the story idea I had already started to work on. After all, a story idea isn’t any good if no one gets to read it.  

I’d better get back to my current story now, so that I can complete the manuscript and then begin to work on the millions of other ideas I have sitting in my file.

30 Responses to Where do your story ideas come from by Renee Knowles

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  11. Renee Knowles

    Hi Lisa!

    Glad you like the cover! I love it too. Jinger does the covers for Siren and she is wonderful.



  12. Renee Knowles

    Hi Ayreann!

    Thanks for stopping by! LOL. Now you have me wondering who is watching me 🙂


  13. Lisa

    Hi Renee,
    Sound good and glad you are the writer. LOL! Sure do like your cover for the topless ebook. Keep up the good job!

  14. Ayreann

    Hi Renee:

    I enjoyed your post. It’s great to know that authors get their ideas from all walks of life. Who knows? Maybe someone I know was carrying on in a mall at some time or another and something they did or said struck an author as interesting and the author decided to use it in their book. *Smile* What a novel idea! I wonder if the person related it to me and I read the author’s book, if I’d every recognize the the circumstance. *LOL*

  15. Bekki

    Thanks Renee!

    Yes! And it’s better then my normal writing. I give all the credit to the characters — I climbed inside their bodies and they used my physical abilities to write it.


  16. Renee Knowles

    Hi Bekki!

    Nice to *see* you here. Bekki just signed on with Siren Publishing 🙂

    It’s hard to choose between all the ideas sometimes! I write in a few genres too, which makes it crazy at times. I guess, I try to just go for the one that I am the most passionate about at the time. The one I will be able to drive all my energy into.

    Although, now that you mention it, cloning would be good!

    Great questions, guys! Keep them coming 🙂


  17. Renee Knowles

    You know, Fedora, I never tried a little light up pen! I turn the big light on and then can’t get back to sleep for a while. LOL.

    Thanks for the tip 🙂


  18. Bekki

    Hi Renee,

    Stories are everywhere. How do you choose which one to write?

    It seems I’m always jotting down new ideas and tidbits to refresh my mind and then pray for cloning.


  19. Fedora

    Renee, what a neat post! I’m always curious about what goes on “behind the scenes” for writers 🙂 I’ve heard other writers say they keep a little light-up pen on the nightstand for those right-before-you-fall-asleep inspirations 😉

  20. Renee Knowles


    Hmm, the name and personalities all go together for me, I guess. When I first picture them, the name kind of comes to me. Clear as mud, right? I guess the creative process is a complicated thing. Fast and furious one minute, and the next slow as molasses.

    Does anyone else ever write a scene or get so involved in writing that at the end of the day you don’t even remember writing the words? It is almost as if someone else wrote it.


  21. Jenyfer Matthews

    LOL Shelley – you mean everyone doesn’t have a constant movie reel running in their minds???

  22. mammakim

    Do your characters have to have personalities before they are named?

    People watching at the Mall or beach is always a good story starter 🙂
    I have left phone messages for myself as well. Ha I thought I was the only one who did that.

  23. Renee Knowles

    Hi Shelley!

    I agree that writers are different. I never really realized until I was older that other people didn’t have stories and characters running through their heads too! My mom is still is amazed by it. She can’t understand that ideas are everywhere LOL.

    And my hubby is a computer geek, who doesn’t have a creative bone in his body, bless him. But he is wonderful at finding the occasional typo in my manuscripts 🙂

    Sending cyber-chocolate your way, as I ran out of the real stuff a day ago.

    Thanks for posting!


  24. Shelley Munro

    Hi Renee,

    People always ask me about ideas and are amazed that I can keep coming up with them while I’m equally amazed that they don’t have the same colorful plots running through their heads. Not that I’d ever say I felt sorry for them! 🙂

    Maybe it’s that writers are hardwired slightly differently? I don’t know, but even though I have a constant stream of ideas–way too many to write–I jot them down in an ideas file and carry on with the current WIP. I just love living in my head. LOL – It’s never boring.

    PS – would you like to send some chocolate my way? My fridge is bare 🙁

  25. Renee Knowles

    Hi Laura J.!

    Thanks for commenting! I actually used to have one of those voice recorders, but it broke. The worst is when you are tucked in and ready for bed and an idea strikes! LOL. I try to ignore it, or tell it to go away, but I always end up getting up and writing it down. You don’t want to forget it 🙂


  26. Renee Knowles

    Hi Marie!

    Glad to see you here! I agree that writing the ideas down makes a big difference. Sometimes I try repeating it to myself over and over if I don’t have my notebook with me. LOL! I’ve even called my home before and left myself a message.


  27. Laura J

    Hi Renee!

    Great post. I always wonder how authors come up with their ideas. I love knowing the behind the scenes stuff that make the story.

    I think you need to get one of those voice recorders so when you have an idea you can just dictate it to yourself. Of course that could get pretty interesting if your in a public place when an idea strikes. lol

  28. Marie Roy

    Hi Renee!

    I enjoyed reading through this blog. Sometimes where we get our ideas is surprising. My problem is that I need to remember them when I get home if I’m somewhere where I don’t have a pen or paper to write them down. Or I’m writing them down on a napkin or anything I can get a hold of so I don’t forget. 🙂

  29. Renee Knowles

    I don’t actually find that my characters have personality traits of friends and family, but I do spend a lot of time trying to make sure that their personalities are unique and believable.

    As far as carrying a notebook around–have you been spying on me? LOL I do often have a notebook with me to jot down ideas. You never know when they might strike!

    Thanks for posting!


  30. mammakim

    Do you ever find that some of your characters have personality traits of friends or family?
    Great Post… Do you carry a notebook to write down your ideas if they come to you at a wierd place?

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