Open Book Blog Hop – Story Ideas

Do you get story ideas that you know you’ll never write?’

Realisation of my idea for a gingerbread and chocolate house diorama

I have lots and lots of story ideas. Everywhere I go, every time I do research, and every time I read a snippet of history, I get stories ideas. There are so many fascinating places, people, and innovations out there, but there is only limited time to write stories. I work full time and have a family so time is my most precious commodity and I have to decide which story ideas to pursue and which to leave for the time being.

I have a number of half written manuscripts on my computers including another middle school book called Silly Willy goes to London, a cli-fi book about genetic engineering and the fourth industrial revolution (I wrote the first 40 000 words and plotted out all three books in a planned series), a memoir about my experiences with raising children with chronic illnesses and dealing with OCD and PTSD in family situations (direct and indirect), and three or four Sir Chocolate Books stories.

I also have three stories currently on the go: one short paranormal story for an anthology, The Soldier and the Radium Girl about the First World War and the radium girls who painted the glow-in-the-dark watches for use by the American troops in the trenches, and the sequel to my mother’s story about her life growing up in an English town during WWII. I have a great new idea for a book about the Anglo-Zulu war in South Africa and am planning a trip with my family to Ghost Mountain in Kwa-Zulu Natal to visit more historical sites [I’m very excited].

I know I will never finish Silly Willy goes to London or Silly Willy goes to Knysna (also started but only 17 000 words in). I doubt I will return to the cli-fi book having lost interest in researching genetic engineering and the expected impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution when Covid-19 hit. I decided it was better to write historical novels and not forward looking novels until the new normal is clear to me. It is difficult to try and predict the future while we are in the middle of a pandemic and don’t know when it will end or how it will impact the world economically. Financial crisis have a habit of leading to conflict and war, just saying.

I have decided not to publish any more Sir Chocolate Books because Michael is 15 years old now and has lost interest in a chocolate man who lives in a world where you can eat everything and my memoir is to painful to write so that has also been abandoned for the time being.

My plan for this year is to write three or four short paranormal stories for anthologies, produce a poetry anthology with Kaye Lynne Booth of Writing to be Read blog, finish After the Bombs Fell with my mother, finish The Soldier and the Radium Girl which is intended to be a novella and plot the outline for my new South African war novel, the title of which has not yet revealed itself to me. The title always comes to me when I have the end of the book in sight [which is relatively early in my plotting process, as I’ve mentioned before].

It sounds like a plan for 2021!

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66 thoughts on “Open Book Blog Hop – Story Ideas

    1. I’m not sure this pandemic is going to be over in the short term, Miriam. I am waiting to see the outcome of the vaccinations and whether they work against the mutations. I am assuming it will continue for me for at least another year which is why I shelved the sci-fi ideas.

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  1. You certainly keep yourself busy. I too have more ideas than I can possibly write, especially as I´m not a fast writer. I also get distracted easily. Good luck on your projects for 2021.

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  2. You are a powerhouse, Robbie! You continue to inspire me with your dedication to storytelling, to conjuring narratives from history, mythology and applying it to our current reality. I have often wondered whether stories come into being when they are meant to be written. Your thoughts will stay with me in the coming week. You have given me much to think about. Hugs and more hugs!

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    1. Hi Rebecca, I think a lot of stories come into being because they need telling at a particular point in time. Think of Dickens who exposed the rotten core of the Victorian class structure. Historical events change the path of human lives. I often wonder what would have happened in South Africa if British greed hadn’t destroyed the independent kingdom of Zululand and the two independent Boer Republics. You can’t change history but you can appreciate it and use it to change the future.

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      1. How very well said, Robbie. Your words are profound. There are crossroads in life, for an individual and a nation. History records the outcomes – may we be eager learner on how to chose wisely.

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    1. Hi Bella, we are at the top of the slippery slide of financial crisis and I have no clarity on how this is going to pan out for all countries in the world. I have my own thoughts and concerns and I prefer not to consider them to closely because it makes me worried. Thanks for adding your thoughts.

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  3. You have so many awesome ideas, Robbie. If only time weren’t an issue. I’m like you….I have notes on half a dozen stories started (and then there are the shorts or novellas), but with working full time and trying to maintain a house, I have to pick and choose. I look forward to seeing where your muse leads you!

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    1. HI Mae, thank you for adding your thoughts, we are in the same boat from a time to write perspective, as are a number of the Story Empire contributors. I know Joan also struggles for time. These are my goals and what I hope to achieve this year. I am flexible if life gets in the way though.

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  4. You have a lot going on, even if you are cutting back. I have many stories I’m doing now that I started when my kids were home. It’s wonderful to finally get back to them after all these years. I have a new perspective that adds to the stories. Even now there isn’t enough time and my empty nest is full again. But it seems to get done eventually. I always enjoy seeing your baking artwork. Amazing.

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  5. I’m always collecting ideas too, but you are very organized and clear-eyed about yours. I like how you incorporate history into fiction, so that seems a good focus for you right now. (K)

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  6. Like you, Robbie, I am always collecting new story ideas. I don’t know if I have any I won’t ever write or finish, but I do have a lot sitting out there waiting. Thanks for a great post and best wishes for all of your endeavors!!

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  7. You are full of stories, Robbie. I wish I had a drawer full of partially written manuscripts. 🙂 I get story ideas every once in a while, but unless I write them down, they’re GONE. And sometimes I’ll revisit my idea and say to myself, “What was I thinking?” It is fun to see how other authors find their inspiration. Happy Writing!

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    1. Thank you, Diana, you have plenty of books so I don’t think ideas is a problem for you. Maybe it is your ability to focus on one book at a time that is better than mine. I abandon stories when I lose interest in them. That happens when my writing gaps become to stretched out due to work commitments. It can be hard to go back to a book after a few months of distractions.

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  8. once again, I am impressed with your productivity; it sounds like you’ve got a plan for 2021. I can’t imagine getting so far along in writing a book and then abandoning it. I guess that’s when it’s nice to have other story ideas ready to go with..

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    1. I write a lot during my quiet periods at work, Jim. I think you know my work is transaction based so I have three or four months of hell and then I take a break. If the writing gaps are to far apart, sometimes I just loss momentum on a book. An idea I like better comes along and that is that. I write for pleasure so I can afford to do this.

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  9. Robbie — yes, I feel you on this. Your unfinished projects are right up there with my own. Endless ideas, and time passes so fast! I keep getting by the “Universal One-mind” thing, and the “Been Done” thing. I was just telling a friend about an idea I had been bouncing (using him as a sounding board). It was so silly-fun and whimsical that I did tons of research without looking to see if it had been done. Now with several files of notes, and spreadsheets, and dozens of carefully researched names — I find the core of the idea already published. But so many other unfinished things sit on the shelf because I simply lost focus.
    Congrats on A Ghost and His Gold. I’m loving it. Keep moving forward. I’m eagerly awaiting the next novel. Hugs.

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    1. Thank you, Teagan, I must be honest I have never really worried to much about the been done before thing. Very little hasn’t been done before in some shape or form. I am misguided enough not to care about that. I am glad you are enjoying A Ghost and His Gold. I hope it is entertaining and interesting. I am never sure if my ideas will interest others 🤗

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      1. That is not misguided at all. I often remind myself that the sheer number of times some scenarios have been done is proof of their worth. And people often tell me that each of us puts our own voice and imagination into a story — so it will be unlike any of the “been dones.” Regardless, your ideas seem wonderfully unique. Keep ’em coming, Robbie. 😀

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