Dean Koontz on Cultivating Story Ideas

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Did you catch this new essay form Dean?

When asked where I got my ideas, I used to say from an idea shop in Syracuse, which had been owned by the same family for six generations.

I was a smartass then. I’m much sweeter now.

In truth, story ideas come at me from all directions and at speeds ranging from snail-crawl to speeding bullet.

The premise behind Ashley Bell didn’t pop into my head full-blown, but it didn’t take days to develop, either. I have a friend, Frank Redman, who’s contending bravely with brain cancer. I wanted to know more about gliomatosis cerebri, the cancer he has, and as I was reading about it, I suddenly had the idea for a novel that begins with a 22-year-old woman, diagnosed with gliomatosis cerebri, whose doctor tells her that she has a year to live, to which she replies, “We’ll see,” and within a few days, her cancer goes into remission, though it is a type of cancer that never relents. The doctors are astonished, and with that, the story is set in motion. I realized then that the novel would be about the character’s obsession with understanding why she was spared from death.

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