Where to Find Ideas is No Mystery

High Rise Hell

I’d planned to write about something different today, but my insomnia gave me the opportunity to write about the age-old question: where do you get ideas for your books? I came across this story in the wee hours after doing Wordle and doom scrolling through Twitter.

         The New York Times posted a story that immediately had my head spinning. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/28/nyregion/nyc-elevator-outage-20-exchange-place.html  

            A 59-story luxury apartment building, formerly the home of a financial institution, in New York City has been experiencing elevator problems above the 15th floor. Sometimes the elevators just don’t work for hours at a time. Other times, they will take a sudden drop. The tenants are understandably furious. They have missed work and other functions, been unable to get out for food and medical appointments. A nurse was forced to climb to the 48th floor after a long shift.

         This isn’t just one story, my fellow writers. This is an opportunity for thousands of tales. The mystery writer in me sees a locked-room story waiting to be written. Quickly I jump to fantasizing it becoming a movie in the fashion of Only Murders in the Building. I can’t get the faces of Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez out of my mind. But then, wouldn’t a weekly Murder She Wrote work in such a fun-filled setting.

         The “what-ifs” are endless in this situation.

         What if you were pregnant, lived on the 44th floor, and went into labor?

         What if you got stuck on the elevator with your ex for hours?

         What if your elderly in-laws came for dinner and couldn’t leave?

         What if you missed an interview for a job you were sure to get?

         What if you’d just had a one-night stand with a person you found revolting the next morning?

         What if you couldn’t walk your Great Dane in the park?

         This is getting to be so much fun, I may have to write a few of these myself.

         All from one feature in the Tuesday New York Times.

         Where do writers get their ideas? It’s no mystery.


Where do my fellow writers get their ideas?


C. Michelle Dorsey

Michelle is the author of the novels Permanent Sunset and the upcoming No Virging Island, the Sabrina Salter series set on St. John in the Caribbean.

Michele is also a lawyer, mediator and adjunct professor of law, who finds inspiration and serenity on the island of St. John and on Cape Cod.


  1. Doom scrolling, hahaha.
    What is a fabulous piece of jewelry went missing during an elevator outage!! Woooo!

  2. How FABULOUS! OMG the ideas come flooding in….a body found IN the elevator after having been stuck for x number of hours? No one could get in or out of it, but there the body was! Whoo Hoo! And nowhere to put the dead body because you can’t go up or down, so the ice machine in the laundry room on your floor comes to mind. OH, writing is a wonderful thing…….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *