Where do ideas for stories come from? The term I like referring to is ex nihilo which is Latin for, "out of nothing." The dictionary further defines it as from nothing. Many writers get their ideas from personal experience born out of a tragic events or a lifetime of nightmares that are usually converted into memoirs and are published under the category of non-fiction. But where do ideas for fictional stories get there roots? As author of the recently published narrative, "Weary Bones," my idea stemmed from lots of observation and what was highly excluded from cinema. Action/thrillers, comedy, romance and so on are a dime-a-dozen when it comes to repetitive themes. With Weary Bones, I wanted to do something exceedingly different yet not straying too far from the norm. The Amish are a people not highly illuminated or given a voice when it comes to the big screen.
In the 1985 movie Witness, a young Amish boy was a witness to a murder and had to be protected by a Philadelphia detective played by Harrison Ford. I wanted to go grander than a mere bit part character. I took my protagonist to an elevated level of importance while casting light on the ways and lifestyle of the Amish people. The other challenge was to write something for which I was very unfamiliar with and make it - familiar. It must have been sheer fate or being in the right place at the right time when I ran into my editor who was very familiar with the Amish culture. She was able to point out mistakes ranging from the minor to exceedingly major flaws in my rough draft. Overall she produced a clean, more realistic, and culturally accurate text concerning my topic. And yes this is a shameless plug for anyone interested in utilizing her services for their writing. I refrain from mentioning her name here but will put anyone in touch with her who is interested in having their rough drafts given the once over. Now to steer back on topic.
In this instance, the idea for my story came from what was not apparent in motion pictures and to me that's a big deal. My advice for writers and readers alike is to observe what you do not see as an audience and to further research what you would like to see in books and on film. This could be the formula for a blockbuster novel or the makings of an impressive narrative.