Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!

Storying: How Authors Look at Things

Tree Gaylord 2011

Where do you get your story ideas? I’ve recently had a friend ask me that. Has the question ever come up to you?

For me, story ideas always come from my surroundings. I can’t help but look around a new environment and think, “What if?”

Case in point: My family and I visited the festive lights and amazing decorations at the Gaylord Texan Hotel. In the center of the large area, a 20-foot tree (or so) slowly spun. From the river walk stage on a lower level, the tree rotated on it’s base about 8-feet above us. You get the idea.

As I stood watching the slow turn, I could visualize a body being shoved by the low hanging branches, coming out from under the tree and falling to the river walk stage where we were standing. I could imagine the screams of the people who saw the horror.

But before I could develop the details of the story stemming from this inciting incident, my daughter piped up, speaking about an authentic-looking chapel tower near the stage area. “Would that be a great place for one of your couples to get married, Mom?”

The River at the Gaylord Texan

I had to admit, I rather thought it an excellent place to see something the character wasn’t supposed to see, but a wedding chapel could be a good second choice. We joined Sweet Hubby against the rail. He was staring into the river below him. Precious Redhead told him about the tower for a wedding and the body falling out from under the tree. “So what are you thinking about?”

She asked it! I know better.

Sweet Hubby didn’t look up. “I’m wondering if there are any fish down there.”

Yeah, there’s that.

And yes, I’ve developed this story idea. Don’t know what I’ll do with it, but this setting drew me in. Too juicy to ignore!

Your turn: Has an environment or venue ever inspired a story idea for you?

Author: Marji Laine

Marji is a recently "graduated" homeschooling mom whose twin girls have blessed her by sticking around the nest for a little longer. She spends her days directing the children’s music program at her church and working with the authors of Write Integrity Press to put out the best possible version of their books. Raised in suburban Dallas, she got her first taste of writing through the stories of brilliant authors of their day, Mignon Eberhart and Phyllis A. Whitney, and through stage experience. After directing and acting in productions for decades, Marji started writing her own scripts. From that early beginning, she delved into creating scintillating suspense with a side of Texas sassy. She invites readers to unravel their inspiration, seeking a deeper knowledge of the Lord’s Great Mystery that invites us all.

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