Ideas on ideas
In January I posted More Flesh Please and asked readers to share where they get their ideas for stories. Most of my ideas come from everyday life and from my dreams and I’m really interested in where others get their inspiration. We are all so different and (because I believe there are no rules when it comes to writing) listening to others is a great way to share inspiration.
I find it amazing that we can just pluck a story from thin air, or from a single word, a picture, or a song. Stories are everywhere, we’re surrounded by them and when we really think about it – our entire lives and the lives of our friends and neighbours are all stories waiting to be told.
When I put my book of short stories together I set aside some space at the end and wrote a couple of paragraphs about each story and what gave me the idea to write it. I get a lot of great feedback on this – mainly ‘I love the idea of writing about where you got the idea for the story!’ 😀
Below are some suggestions from other writers on how their ideas have come to them.
Anna Belfrage – Stories are like stardust… At the most unexpected moments there’s a spark in your brain and you’re off. One of my books has as its “conception point” a scene in which the female protagonist is sitting on a stool and cutting off her hair – she has to sell it to pay for… well, at the time I had no idea!
Janna G Noel – Coming up with a story idea is kind of like getting bitten my a mosquito: there are a million of them out there, but no one ever knows which specific one will sink its mandibles into you. The idea of my novel-in-progress was solidified in my mind when I heard two of my characters conversing in my head (one made the other an offer she couldn’t refuse) while I was brushing my teeth. Yes, I hear voices.
Hazy Shades of Me – My stories usually spring from life’s events and my mind taking off in the middle of whatever it is I’m involved in at that moment and saying; what if?….. I can be having lunch with someone and, out of the blue, my inside voice will take off, rambling on about, what if this, what if that. But then, I’m fearful of putting it out there in public, in case the person I was having lunch with thinks it’s somehow about them… My writer mind knows it’s fiction and most definitely fabricated, but I guess my regular human being mind has writer’s guilt…
Justin Writer Everyone approaches long writing in a different way and what works for one might not work for others, but what works for me is proverb based themes. There are two articles on this topic at my website http://write21.wordpress.com/articles-2/
Maddie Cochere -…I started by writing characters I knew. Of course, I had to change names and tweak personalities a bit, but I was startled when a character I had never even thought about stuck his head out of his apartment door and inserted himself into my story … and he never left. My story and my characters tend to unfold on the fly as I write. I only need to start with a bare-bones outline.
Sheila – I think ideas come from the air. They float around out there until writers pull them out of the air and write them down. Sometimes a sentence or paragraph will just pop into my mind and that will usually be the start of a story. If that doesn’t work, there’s always good ideas in the newspaper.
Anna Scott Graham – Plots, well, the two most recent were from the latest James Bond flick (what if a spy actually walked away and lived a real life?) and reading a Rolling Stone article about a punk musician who is transitioning from male to female. News articles often prod my gray matter; somehow I just never seem to have a problem stirring drama from mundane occurrences.
Zen – I’m like you; I often get ideas from dreams! They’re always so wild and creative, and it would be a shame to let them slip by unnoticed. Often I get ideas just from a name or a character. For example, I once came up with a character called Petra, and a whole story came following after.
So there you have it, dear friends. Now take a look around – there is story in everything you’re doing at this very moment! Do you have any further suggestions on how you come up with ideas?