Where Do Ideas Come From by R. L. King – Guest Blog and Giveaway

VBT_TourBanner_TheAlistairStoneChronices (1)

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $40 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Where Do Ideas Come From?

One of the most common questions that most writers are asked is “where do your ideas come from?” For me, the question is more like, “Where don’t ideas come from?”

I think those who’ve never written a book (or never wanted to) believe that there’s some mystical source of ideas out there that writers tap into, but for me, there’s nothing mystical about it. Ideas come from everywhere. I’ve gotten pieces of novels from internet news articles, discussions with friends, movies, TV shows, other books, and random snatches of conversations overheard from strangers. Some of the best are “bolts from the blue” that hit me at most unexpected times: two of the best smacked me in the head while I was watching movies in a theater and I had to duck out into the lobby to capture them on my smartphone before they flitted away.

Here are some of the “mystical” sources where I’ve gotten ideas for bits in the novels I’ve already written:

• A small, odd shop in a nearby town
• A preview commercial before a movie
• A Chuck Palahniuk short story
• An internet writeup about Burning Man
• Doctor Who
• Two shops and some supernatural legends from my home town
• A tabletop roleplaying game
• A really bad early 90s science fiction show

None of these things gave me whole plots—those are a bit harder, and usually end up as a synthesis of several of the ideas as they start to come together into something bigger—but each one provides part of the story and before too long I’ve got a book brewing.

For me, the hard part isn’t getting the ideas—it’s keeping them straight. I used to think, “Oh, that’s a great idea! I’ll have to remember it!” and of course, because my brain is full of squirrels, the idea wandered off and got lost among the rest of the detritus in there. These days, I always write them down. Even if it’s just a tiny snippet of an idea, I stop what I’m doing and get it down. If I’m away from home, I email it to myself from my smartphone (which I’m never without). If I’m home, I have a little box full of half-size 3×5 cards where I write the snippet down and file it. Some of them are big (the basic plot of a full novel, or even a multi-book arc for the series) and some are very small (a single scene, maybe, or even a joke). Some are silly, and some are deadly serious. But all of them are there for me next time I want to start a novel: I just pull them out, look through them, and figure out which ones will fit with what I want to do.

At this point, I’ve got so many ideas for Stone Chronicles stories that I not only have the basic series arc in place but I also have the skeleton plots for about the next five books, along with several short stories and novellas. That’s a good place to be for me, because I tend to get stressed out if I don’t know where my next plots are coming from. Also, it leaves me plenty of room to slot in other ideas—and because I spend time every day on the internet reading weird news, Twitter, and the odd stories friends post on Facebook, I’m sure those other ideas will keep coming.

So the bottom line, at least for me, isn’t where ideas come from—but how to find time to use all the ideas that never stop coming! If you’re a new author and you’re worried about inspiration, just let yourself be open to the world around you. Don’t limit yourself to things in your own genre, either. Part of the fun is taking something that might have nothing to do with what you write and molding into something you can use. Rom-coms inspiring horror novels, or vice versa? A news story about sports inspiring an urban-fantasy story? It could happen, if you let it—and it could be your next big thing!

Dr. Alastair Stone, Occult Studies professor, powerful mage, and snarky British expat now based in Palo Alto, California, does his best to keep his academic and social lives separate from his increasingly frequent brushes with various malevolent forces from the supernatural side of the street. A little horror, a little humor, but mostly straight-up urban fantasy.

Stone-and-a-Hard-Place-new-face-800 Cover reveal and PromotionalStone and a Hard Place

Dr. Alastair Stone, Occult Studies professor and powerful mage, has his hands full trying to keep the two sides of his life separate as he trains a new apprentice, deals with a malevolent entity trapped in the basement of a wealthy old woman’s massive home, and battles dark mages intent on enslaving it for their own ends.

Debut novel of the Alastair Stone Chronicles.

MediaKit_BookCover_Bk2_AlastairStoneChroniclesThe Forgotten

Dr. Alastair Stone is back, this time teaming up with Jason Thayer, a young man hunting for his missing sister. Embroiled in a web of odd homeless people, a growing conspiracy, and deadly danger, they soon realize that even if they find Jason’s sister, they might not be able to help her.

What do you do when you discover an extradimensional plot that threatens the safety of the entire world, but you can’t tell anyone about it because literally anyone on Earth could be part of it?

Book Two of the Alastair Stone Chronicles.

Enjoy an excerpt from STONE AND A HARD PLACE:

“Dr. Stone?”

The voice was trembling, female, and sounded terrified. It took him a moment to identify it. He stared as Megan stirred again, draping her arm back over him. “Mrs.—Bonham?”

Whoever was on the other end sounded like they were on the verge of hysteria. “Dr. Stone, is that you?”

“It’s me, Mrs. Bonham. What’s wrong? Is something wrong?” He sat up a little, propping himself up on his pillows. Megan’s arm slid down over his stomach, but he didn’t even notice that she was there.

“Something’s here,” she quavered. “Something’s…happening.”

He was fully awake now. Carefully, he moved Megan’s arm and sat on the edge of the bed. “Calm down, Mrs. Bonham, please. I’ll help you if I can, but you have to tell me what’s happening.”

“I don’t know,” she sobbed. “It’s like the whole house hates me. Noises—cold winds—things slamming—”

“Is Iona there? Can you put her on for a moment?”

There was a shuffling sound and then a different voice spoke, sounding almost as frightened as Adelaide Bonham had. “Dr. Stone? This is Iona.”

He took a deep breath. “Iona. What’s going on? Is Mrs. Bonham—”

“She’s not imagining things, Dr. Stone,” the woman said. In addition to sounding frightened, she sounded like she couldn’t believe what was going on. “I can hear them too. The noises. The feelings. It’s horrible, Dr. Stone. Something’s going on.”

About the Author: R. L. King is an award-winning author and game freelancer for Catalyst Game Labs, publisher of the popular roleplaying game Shadowrun. She has contributed fiction and game material to numerous sourcebooks, as well as one full-length adventure, “On the Run,” included as part of the 2012 Origins-Award-winning “Runners’ Toolkit.”

Her first novel in the Shadowrun universe, Borrowed Time, was published in May 2015.

When not doing her best to make life difficult for her characters, King is a software technical writer for a large Silicon Valley database company. In her spare time (hah!) she enjoys hanging out with her very understanding spouse and her small herd of cats, watching way too much Doctor Who, and attending conventions when she can. She is an active member of the Horror Writers’ Association and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and a member of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers.

Writer Website | Publisher Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon Author Page

Buy Stone and a Hard Place (book 1) at Amazon and The Forgotten (Book 2) also at Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

  2. Thanks for hosting!

  3. Pernella Rodriguez says:

    Thanks for this awesome opportunity 🙂

  4. Thank you so much for hosting! This is my first stop on my first blog tour ever, so I’m looking forward to the fun! 🙂

    Mai T: I don’t really have a strong preference. I love hardcopy books because it’s great to hold something in my hands, turn real pages, read the back-cover copy, etc., but nothing beats my Kindle app on my iPad or phone when I’m waiting in line for something!

  5. Wow! This sounds like a real page-turner! I enjoyed reading about your “mystical sources”! Thank you for the great post and contest!

  6. Rita Wray says:

    The story sounds very exciting.

    • Betty W. and Rita Wray:
      Thanks so much for the kind words. 🙂 I hope you’ll check out the book, and if you do, I hope you enjoy it! I’ve got more to come!

  7. Tramond Roper says:

    How do you feel about the book

    • Hi Tramond,
      Not sure I understand the question. How do I feel about my book? Pretty good! I’ve put a lot of work into both of them, and I’m happy with how they turned out. 🙂

  8. Patricia says:

    Interesting guest post! Thanks for the chance to win

  9. Eva Millien says:

    Sounds like a really good book, thanks for sharing!

  10. Patrick Siu says:

    Sounds intriguing and entertaining, will have to read soon. Thanks for the giveaway.

  11. Victoria says:

    Sounds like an awesome series – thanks for sharing the excerpt!

  12. Good luck with the release!

  13. Thanks for the kind words, everyone! Good luck with the giveaway! 🙂

  14. Thanks for the giveaway. I like the excerp. 😉

  15. I really enjoyed reading the excerpt. This book sounds like such an interesting read! I will totally have to add it to my “to-read” list.

  16. Glenda S. Hefty says:

    Thanks for the giveaway…enjoyed the excerpt. Weird…I thought I posted a comment already but it’s not here.

  17. Pernella Rodriguez says:

    What plans do u have for abother series?

  18. Nikolina says:

    Really enjoyed reading the excerpt, thank you!

  19. Though ideas come from everywhere, where do you find most of them? 🙂

  20. interesting post

  21. Pernella Rodriguez says:

    What inspiired you to start writing?

    • Sorry I’ve been slow in responding – been away at Gen Con for the past few days.

      I don’t really have any plans for another series. I’ve still got plenty of ideas for more Stone Chronicles stories, so I plan to stick with that series for the foreseeable future.

      I would say most of my ideas come from other things I read or watch–I’ll see some weird news story and it will spark an idea, or something in a TV show or movie. By the time I get done with them, though, nobody would recognize them. For example, a character in one of my books was originally inspired by watching a little documentary piece about Oprah Winfrey before a movie started, but I doubt anyone would ever guess it.

      Pernella again:
      I really don’t know. I’ve been writing since I was a small child. I guess I’d have to say I was inspired by wanting to write the things that I wanted to read, but nobody else was writing. 🙂

  22. BTW, I must be tired: please don’t respond to the email address and website I included in the last post–the email address won’t work. Use the one in this post. Sorry!

  23. Pernella Rodriguez says:

    Do u have a favorite character or characters in your books

    • Oh, absolutely. Stone is far and away my favorite character. He’s fun, and he has a lot of different facets to explore.
      For secondary characters, I’d say my favorites (of the ones in released books so far, anyway) are Verity and Kolinsky.

  24. Judy Schechter says:

    I enjoyed reading the interview and learning about how you come up with your ideas! I bet you wake up in the middle of the night to write ideas down, I know I would! The excerpt was interesting and left me wanting more! And thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  25. I loved the excerpt! I could really feel the emotions from the two women. I can’t wait to read more! Thank you.

  26. I love to read paranormal romances and science fiction well, many types of fiction. Your book looks wonderful.

  27. Amanda Sakovitz says:

    Where’s your favorite place to write?

    • I have two spots in my house where I write: downstairs where it’s more open and “social” (and available to my cats!) and upstairs behind a closed door when I just need to block out the world.
      I wish I was one of those types who could just pack up my laptop and go to the coffee shop or sit out in the woods or something and write, but I’m not. I get my best work done at home.

  28. Thomas Murphy says:

    sounds like a great book! Thanks for the giveaway.

Speak Your Mind