Chatting with Christine Warner

Where do Story Ideas Come From?

I’m often asked where I get my ideas for a story.  How do I come up with the plot, characters, conflicts and setting?

Each author goes about their story writing in a different way.  I have no magic formula or secret recipe and I admit most stories come to me in a very simple, minimal fashion.

I’ve come up with stories from hearing a song, people-watching, a sentence or comment in mid conversation with a friend or co-worker, something I’ve seen or read in the news…but more often than not I come up with story ideas by just a phrase popping into my head which ends up being the title. 

Yep, that simple. 

From that title, which may be only 3 to 5 words long, a story develops.  Characters are formed, a setting is built and conflicts and plots are worked out.

That’s how I came up with the light-hearted romantic suspense story for my debut novel Some Like it in Handcuffs.  From there I created Sunny Kennedy and her hero Judson Blackwolf.  I agonized over their professions, gave them a background and families and filled in the plot, setting and conflicts.  Of course I changed my outline several times as I organized my thoughts and even made changes to key points in the midst of writing, but it all worked out in the end.

Incredible to think that those 5 simple words started an idea for a story then finished with a completed manuscript.  Even more incredible and crazy how one idea—one title—can snowball into a series isn’t it?  Since writing Some Like it in Handcuffs I’ve plotted out stories for each of Sunny Kennedy’s brothers and each title starts out with Some Like it…

Some Like it in Handcuffs blurb:

Sunny Kennedy, the only female in a family of blue blood male detectives, is determined to prove testosterone isn’t the only qualification required to solve a cold case. Handcuffed while undercover then taken to the precinct by an attractive detective, her domineering family demands she work with Detective Judson Blackwolf, or she’s off the case.
Judson Blackwolf thinks women in law enforcement should work behind the scenes. The prospect of working with his Captain’s sexy daughter doesn’t thrill him. He only agrees in hopes of solving the murder of his one time mentor’s daughter. Once the case is over, he’s moving to Montana to heal his wounds from the loss of his last partner.
But when their investigation takes a dangerous turn, Sunny and Jud soon realize their feelings for each other cannot be denied.


“This isn’t how I wanted it between us.”  Judson grabbed the neckline of her sweater, dragging her body to meet his with a solid thump.  Sunny licked her lips in answer to the question in his eyes.  He lowered his head to move his mouth over hers. 
Sunny closed her eyes, a small whimper escaping her lips.  She didn’t want it like this either, but that wasn’t possible.  Unable to resist her attraction she accepted it wasn’t an affair, or a long distance romance she craved, but for him to love her back.  It was all or nothing for her.  Her heart sank.  She accepted this as their goodbye kiss.
With no thought to what was happening upstairs, Sunny rose up on her toes demanding more.  Her lips pulsated against Judson’s.  When his hand trembled against her cheek in a soft caress she lost touch with reality. 
“Judson.” Sunny’s weakened body drifted farther into Judson’s as his fingers glided down her arms, pulling them to her sides where their fingers intertwined.  He forced them behind her before his tongue thrust into her mouth. 
Their bodies molded together, she heard her own heartbeat and his as well when he curved his fingers around her rear and squeezed. 
That’s when the click of the handcuffs against her wrist connected her to the handle of the locked cupboard. 
“What the hell…Judson?”  She looked up at him, her knees shook, her body still inflamed with fever. 

“Like I was saying, you wait here and I’ll go upstairs to check it out.  Backup’s already been called, so you’re safe until your brothers arrive.”  Judson winked before walking toward the steps to the third level.  Once he reached them he turned toward her and smiled.  “Gotcha,” he whispered with his notorious grin.

Some Like it in Handcuffs is available in print and digital format starting March 23rd at:
And you can find me at:
My blog/website:
Twitter under ChristinesWords:!/ChristinesWords
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I love to hear from readers and other authors J  


  1. Fab post, Christine. Loving the excerpt!

    Good luck with 'Handcuffs'! :-)

  2. Thanks for stopping by Cathie! Glad you enjoyed the excerpt :)

  3. Hi, Christine.
    I, too, can find a story everywhere! Kind of frightening isn't it?

  4. Great guest post! I love hearing about others' process. It's fascinating to see how the muse "contacts" writers! (big smile!)

  5. A lot of my ideas come from dreams--those were the easiest to write for some reason too.

  6. Since every writer's different, our ideas come to us in deliciously different ways. And often they vary from story to story. This works since most of us abhoir routines and same-old-dame-old. Good luck to you. Can't wait to hear more of your series.

  7. I was really hoping you were going to reveal a magic formula! That's such a great title I can understand how you were able to write a story from it. My titles usually come later in the process.

  8. Nardi Point (Nancy), I agree with you, it's fun to see how the process works for others!

    You are so lucky Jerri, I have heard of other authors getting their stories from dreams, but I never have. That'd be fun though. To see most of it in vivid detail and color :)

    Vonnie, you hit the nail on the head. I think authors don't like the same old routine, so it's fun to have different ways that a story comes into your mind.

    Oh All, if only there were a magic's make some days easier for sure, but might also take out the fun part of it!

    Thanks for stopping by :)

  9. I love when the title comes easily. I wish that were the same in my case. I generally struggle with the title.

    Love the excerpt. :)

  10. Interesting where the authors come up with ideas for their books. Thanks for sharing yours. Love the excerpt too :)

  11. I like hearing how authors come up with stories too Ceri. As for titles, it's something that usually comes easy to me...of course not with this last story I just finished. I think I changed the title 3 times and I'm still not sure about it. LOL

    Glad you liked the excerpt Sheri...thanks for coming by!

  12. Love your excerpt. Gets me even more excited to read your book.

  13. Glad to hear it Brenda! So glad you came by today :) Thank you.

  14. I love that excerpt. So funny. I also loved the whole book. Best of luck with it.

  15. Thanks Callie...great to hear you enjoyed the book :)


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