One question that we get a lot, as novel authors, is the one as to how we get ideas for novel storylines. I have tried to read on the subject, to see how other authors get ideas for novel plots. Based on what I have read, and based on my own experience as an author, I can assert that there are three main ways in which authors get ideas for novel storylines.
Firstly, we have authors who get ideas for novel storylines from current affairs: mainly from news. So, as an author, I may read a particular story on the newspaper or on a magazine and, while doing so, a storyline that is directly or indirectly related to what I am reading suddenly comes up. For instance, I was recently reading about the Walmartone benefits portal, which would admittedly seem to be an uninspiring subject: yet, by the time I was getting to the end of the story, I already had a storyline idea for a full-length novel.
Secondly, we have authors who get ideas for novel storylines by reading other writers’ works. This is where an author may read another writer’s novel, and while doing so, start getting ideas on how the story could go in another direction – ultimately giving rise to a new novel.
Thirdly, we have authors who get ideas for novel storylines by observing the happenings around them. Interesting stuff is always happening around us. Even ordinary day to day stuff, which would otherwise seem to be boring stuff, can be interesting if it is put on paper. Sometimes, what you get from the people around you are ideas for characters. And once you have real (novel) characters in your mind, it becomes easy to weave a storyline from them. This is to say, in other words, that as authors, we don’t always start with storylines/plots. On the contrary, at times, we start with characters. Then from the characters, we create storylines.