I came across an article yesterday on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's website about a woman's body found in a pen of nine hybrid wolves. Her body was intact, but had been partially eaten. Unlike many people, my first reaction was not "yuck." The first thing that went through my mind was there's a story in here somewhere.
It made me wonder how and where other writers get their story ideas. I have a story file containing newspaper clippings, pages I've printed from things I found on the internet, notes I've jotted down, etc. I even have a Word document called Lines to Use in Future Books.
One of my favorite articles came from the FBI website about two men who were arrested for bringing in female illegals from Mexico and selling them for sex slaves. Another favorite is about employees of UCLA being investigated for selling body parts of corpses that had been donated for research purposes. I don't know if they'll ever work their way into a book, but they are in my file if I need them.
My novel, LOST SUMMER, came from an article I read on date rape drugs. The novel I'm working on now was sparked by not only my love of Gettysburg and battlefield preservation, but by the controversy over building a casino next to the battlefield.
Story ideas can also come out of nowhere. I'll be having a conversation with someone, and something they say sparks an idea. People you see on the street. Wisps of dialogue in a restaurant. You get the picture.
So, other writers out there--where do you get your ideas?