Writers will always tell you that they often get their stories in the most unusual places: dreams, road trips, news stories, even ideas that suddenly hit while on the toilet or taking a shower or driving down the road. I am no different, that’s for sure.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer—always been a storyteller. But it wasn’t until I was about 22 and heard a story from a friend that I was sparked with enough of an idea to write more than a poem or short story.
My first novel, The Bus Driver, was inspired by a friend’s true life story. She’d never known her grandparents due to some kind of family falling-out. However, when she had to start taking the bus to school her freshman year, turns out her grandmother was her bus driver! There’s a little more to the story, but that inspired me to write my first novel about an ex-con and the daughter he’d never met, until he became her bus driver.
The next novel, The Impossible Choice, came from a dream. One scene from a dream, actually. A man stood on a cliff, holding on for dear life to 2 people—his girlfriend and his best friend. He only had the strength to save one—how would he choose? This story ended up being a lot more in depth and was quite the crazy ride, but in the end, that scene was still a tear-jerker to write! In fact, I don’t know anyone who has read it yet that didn’t at least tear up. I may still self-publish this story one day.
One day, I was having a discussion with one of my friends about what it would be like to lose our memories completely, to have no idea who are friends and family were, to not even know who WE were. This led to a side discussion about how we would rediscover our faith. These conversations (and a wild imagination) inspired Dividing Spirits, a supernatural tale about a woman who loses her memory and gains an extreme version of discernment that allows her to see, not just angels and demons, but whether or not a person is saved.
Most recently, Bellanok (my self-published fantasy) was one of those stories that just kind of appeared out of nowhere. I really don’t remember anything that sparked the idea, except that I was praying at the time. Does that mean the story was laid out by the Holy Spirit? Hard to say. Has it been a blast to explore and write? Absolutely! Especially since I’ve felt just like the down-on-his-luck pastor in the book—ready to give up, throw in the towel, and run. But God has a way of pulling us back in in the most unexpected ways.
So, the next time your imagination starts to run wild or you start to hear voices in your head, don’t ignore them. Even if you’re not a writer, you never know who you might influence with a well-thought-out idea or a question that appears out of nowhere. If you are a writer, never discard an idea! Write it down and store it away. Ideas of fun for those rainy days!
Where do you find your inspiration?
About the Author:
Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a freelance editor’s sword, or a social media wand, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to make it SHINE! She spins fantastical tales to encourage people to SHINE BEYOND. She has worked for a variety of groups/companies, including Realm Makers, The Christian PEN, Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, and as an editor for a number of freelance clients.
Her first novel, Bellanok, is being published as a 5-part serial starting in October 2015!
When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . .