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February 18, 2013 / diannegray

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.

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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?

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114 Comments

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  1. letizia / Feb 18 2013 10:41 am

    As a reader, not a writer, of fiction, I love hearing where writers get their ideas from!

    I have noticed that when I’m working on any kind of project, even one that has nothing to do with writing, I tend to see that world through the lens of that project- suddenly everything seems connected with that one theme!

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 1:08 pm

      This is so true, Letizia! I’m sure a lot of woman will agree that when they become pregnant, all they see is loads of babies around! When we focus on something it seems to be everywhere we look. When I got my new car, I began to see heaps of them when I was ‘sure’ I’d never seen one before 😉 I guess it’s the same with writing – once we start looking for ideas they seem to pop up in the strangest places.

      I love knowing where people get their ‘novel’ ideas from as well. It gives me a great insight into the mind of the author 😀

      Like

  2. Piscis / Feb 18 2013 10:42 am

    I suppose I latch onto the core of a feeling I experience, either personally or vicariously, and then try to find a new and interesting way to encapsulate it through narrative.

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    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 1:09 pm

      That’s a great way to put it. Excellent thoughts! 😀

      Like

  3. Theo Fenraven / Feb 18 2013 10:42 am

    They come to me in odd quiet moments through the day, and often in that half-waking state before I get up each morning.

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    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 1:11 pm

      That’s a lovely time of day. Your mind is still in the half-dream state and open to all kinds of thoughts and feelings 😉

      Like

  4. Jill Weatherholt / Feb 18 2013 10:43 am

    I love that many of your ideas come from your dreams. I wish I were able to remember more of mine. Many of my ideas come from music or listening to conversations around me….not that I’m an eavesdropper. 🙂

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    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 1:13 pm

      I’m definitely and eavesdropper! 😉 I love listening to conversations in restaurants and in the ‘ladies room’. It’s amazing what people discuss in places like this – LOL 😀

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  5. Alastair / Feb 18 2013 10:44 am

    I have a story on the go at the moment in snips and snaps on my blog, and it all started with a WordPress prompt. “An offer you can’t refuse”. I do a bit here and there when something just catches in my brain for the next part 🙂

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 1:14 pm

      It’s really good that you got an idea for a story from a WP prompt, Alistair – you should let them know 😉

      Like

  6. MishaBurnett / Feb 18 2013 10:58 am

    I think my best ideas come from mixing things at random and trying to make them both work. If I had to point to one single “idea” behind the world of Catskinner and James, it would be a conversation I had once at a party where I and a friend were discussing William Burroughs and someone butted in who thought we were discussing Edgar Rice Burroughs. That got me to ask the question, “How would a character like John Carter of Mars deal with a world like Naked Lunch?”

    Now, I’ve added a lot to the stew since then, but I think I’ve stayed true to the idea of fairly simple action hero thrust in a world of subtlety and deception where nothing is what it seems. My romantic lead follows, more or less, the same pattern, an ERB heroine’s mind in a WSB character’s body.

    I have a very eclectic book and movie collection, which is rather poorly organized, and sometimes just seeing two titles sitting side by side will spark thoughts–the core concept of one of my antagonists was created by seeing Aniais Nin’s “Spy In The House Of Love” sitting atop a collection of Lovecraft’s stories.

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    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 1:23 pm

      This is great, Misha! Mixing things at random is another excellent way to find a story or the title to a story. I know of several musicians who write random words on paper, shuffle them up and then put two words together. You can come up with titles like ‘solid air’, ‘ugly beauty’, ‘positive tension’ just to name a few. It’s a great way to see words and even sentences developing in a different light 😀

      Like

  7. Polysyllabic Profundities / Feb 18 2013 11:08 am

    I love hearing where others find their muses. I wrote part of a post about how I get inspiration almost every time I stand on my deck. Maybe it’s the fresh air, or the stars, but I’m happy to know it’s always there for me!!

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 1:29 pm

      I can’t wait to stand on my deck! My house still isn’t up (but I think it may be within a week – fingers crossed). There’s so much mucking around to do with approvals etc…

      Oops – I got off track there! Fresh air and stars – what a magnificent combination. Where I am now I can see so many stars and they stretch from horizon to horizon. Looking at them is my favourite pastime! 😉

      Like

      • Polysyllabic Profundities / Feb 18 2013 1:36 pm

        Mine too! They give me hope that winter will be over soon! Can’t wait to see pictures of your new home.

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  8. JackieP / Feb 18 2013 11:10 am

    I”m a complete ‘pantser’ when it comes to writing, but I do have dreams if my character is in a certain situation that I can’t find a way of. Then it comes to me in dreams. Most times my characters take a life of their own and I have to admit they are usually smarter them me. As for ideas, oh wow, they come from everywhere and no where. Most just pop in my pea brain from the cosmic. 😉

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    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 1:31 pm

      Jackie, you don’t have a pea brain! LOL! 😀

      I love the pantser writer. It’s a great gift to be able to just sit down and get it done 😉

      Like

  9. EllaDee / Feb 18 2013 11:31 am

    Timely post… I sent a request out the the Universe for an idea for a short story loosely based around ‘chance’ [check out Australian Country Style Magazine for details]. Weeks went by. Nada. Then in the early hours of Sunday morning I couldn’t escape an awful dream. I woke up later thinking WTF… but as I was relating it to the G.O. I saw it for what it was. My short story. I’m up to about 900 words… Stories from dream inspiration has never happened to me before but after reading posts from you and Pete Denton, I realised I was missing out on a mine of material, particularly for short stories as I tend to write from real life which has limitations, rather than fiction.

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 1:36 pm

      This is fantastic – I feel so satisfied when someone gets inspiration from people’s blog posts. I’m really glad you saw the dream as it really was supposed to be – instead of just putting it to one side and forgetting about it. Dreams have a wonderful array of weirdness and we need to tap into that. Best of luck with the story and please let me know how you go in the competition! 😀 😀 😀

      Like

  10. Sheila Morris / Feb 18 2013 11:44 am

    Thanks, Dianne…really good post…you’re the best!!

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  11. nrhatch / Feb 18 2013 11:57 am

    Often I’m just hanging out on the deck . . . and an idea comes whispering across the water.

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    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 1:37 pm

      I love the phrase “whispering across the water” – it sounds so intriguing and romantic! 😀

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  12. Lonely Daffodil / Feb 18 2013 12:02 pm

    My inspirations/ideas come from paintings, music, scent, photos, whatever I see and feel. Thank you for the great post, Dianne!

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    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 1:38 pm

      WOW! You have a lot of inspiration going on in your life. Well done 😀

      Like

  13. justinwriter / Feb 18 2013 12:03 pm

    I love hearing about ideas for stories. Thanks for posting the links to my articles. 🙂 And for the other links. I’ll have to add them to my never ending list of resources.

    I also get ideas from reading odd news stories and from dreams. My dreams are sometimes disjointed, so I have to dig around for the kernel and work from there.

    They say there are only two types of stories: (1) fish out of water and (2) an odd couple. I’m sure there are other types, but these are the main ones. The magic happens in the variations.

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 1:45 pm

      Dreams can be really disjointed and this is the beauty of searching around them and grasping onto a concept. It doesn’t really need a lot of practice to do this and I find either, 1) writing them down, or 2) verbalising them, makes it a lot easier to crack the nut 😀

      Odd news stories are great ones, although they say truth is stranger than fiction. I’ve read a lot that I would think were ‘too far out there’ if I read them in a fiction novel. I occasionally put real life events in my novels and have been given feedback to say – “this part of the story was too convenient, these things don’t happen in real life.” LOL – yes they do! 😉

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  14. Carrie Rubin / Feb 18 2013 12:13 pm

    It’s funny how ideas seem to come to me at the least opportune times–namely while I’m in the shower or in the middle of a grueling work out. Both settings make it difficult to stop and jot down the ideas. Argghh!!

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    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 1:48 pm

      This happens to me as well, Carrie and it’s really frustrating. I always think ‘wow – what a great idea, I’ll never forget that’ – and then…yes you guessed it…I forget it! 😦

      Like

  15. agjorgenson / Feb 18 2013 12:18 pm

    I find myself inspired by art and ordinary events. I’m not sure whether art helps me to see the ordinary differently, or vice versa.

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    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 1:52 pm

      Art is very inspiring, Allan. I like to think it offers me a different frame of reference to life and what I perceive as ordinary becomes extraordinary 😉

      Like

  16. Naomi Baltuck / Feb 18 2013 12:20 pm

    I love this! It looks likes an interesting collection, Dianne. Every Christmas my daughter Bea gives her Dad and me each a book of poetry she has written over the last year. In the table of contents she does what you are doing–describing what sparked the idea for each poem. It is always my favorite gift.

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    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 1:56 pm

      That is a beautiful gift, Naomi. What a wonderful thing for her to do. Bea must be a very talented and thoughtful soul indeed! 😀

      Like

  17. harulawordsthatserve / Feb 18 2013 1:39 pm

    Great post and intriguing comments thread. Ideas for me tend to come; yes, from dreams; while I walk alone in nature; observing people (more what they’re doing/body language than words/what they’re saying); a single snap shot image, morning pages or free writing, a single phrase that appears in my thoughts and repeats itself a few times…I usually have a whole collection of starting points jotted down somewhere and the challenge is choosing which ‘idea’ to plant and grow…

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    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 1:59 pm

      This sounds wonderful, Harula. I love the way there are so many things that inspire you. The “collection of starting points” is brilliant 😀

      Like

  18. Maddie Cochere / Feb 18 2013 1:46 pm

    I enjoyed reading all of these, Dianne. So many great ideas and thoughts. Thank you for including my comment. 🙂

    Like

  19. donnajeanmcdunn / Feb 18 2013 2:10 pm

    Great post Dianne, I enjoyed this post. I like hearing how other people think of ideas and characters too. It makes me feel almost normal.

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 4:15 pm

      It makes me feel ‘almost’ normal as well! I’m really glad you enjoyed it 😀

      Like

  20. Janna G. Noelle / Feb 18 2013 2:14 pm

    Such a great variety of quotes on writers’ ideas, Dianne, and thanks for including me among them. 🙂 The only other suggestion I have, both for myself and for others who might be struggling for ideas, is to not be so focused on the hear and now and the mundane – that is, to let your mind drift a bit throughout the day. The main commonality I noticed among all the quotes is that coming up with ideas is a passive process. One can’t really force it, but rather should just leave the doors and windows of the imagination thrown open so that possibilities can wander in.

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    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 4:17 pm

      Nicely picked up, Janna. This is so true. I find I’m far more in tune when I’m relaxed and not forcing anything. Great advice (again) 😉

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  21. EJ / Feb 18 2013 2:20 pm

    I get my ideas from all sorts of places. The ones that become novels are the ones that come from an image or a thought that stays with me, but short stories come from anything from newspaper articles to songs to words to things I’ve studied… Poetry on the other hand is emotion driven – the feeling I try to convey is the one a particular moment or scene gave me. So all different!

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    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 4:21 pm

      This is really interesting, EJ. I’m kind of the same (particularly with short stories). I haven’t tried my hand at poetry for many years, but when I did write it I found it was very emotive (here and now stuff)…

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  22. moderndayruth / Feb 18 2013 2:52 pm

    Oh, i loved this one: “Stories are like stardust”… I got some of my best ideas… while showering lol!

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 4:22 pm

      They’re all pretty good! It’s amazing what writers come up with 😀

      Like

  23. Anna Scott Graham / Feb 18 2013 3:00 pm

    This is a wonderful post; I really enjoyed reading how others find their ideas. Just yesterday another slice of news hit me like a brick; I need fifty or sixty-hour days to work out all I’d love to write!

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 4:24 pm

      Oh – how I wish I had that time! 😉

      I’m really glad you enjoyed this, Anna 😀

      Like

  24. eof737 / Feb 18 2013 3:21 pm

    This is excellent. My ideas come from different channels; snatches of conversations, news media, stories shared, reflection and prayer, out of thin air, and sometimes in ways that are a mystery. 😉
    I enjoyed this! Eliz

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    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 4:33 pm

      This is lovely to know, Eliz (and not surprising that you have so many creative channels!) You are a very creative soul indeed! 😀

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      • eof737 / Feb 19 2013 8:21 am

        And you my dear are impressive. TY for the support you gave me while I was out of the loop… Grateful! 🙂

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      • diannegray / Feb 19 2013 8:35 am

        I absolutely love your blog 😀

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      • eof737 / Feb 19 2013 8:37 am

        Yours rocks! 🙂 TY!

        Like

  25. Kozo / Feb 18 2013 3:22 pm

    I’m not sure how this will work with longer pieces, but I have been blogging with my twitter feed on a different screen. Sometimes a random quotation or post will pop up that will inspire my writing. I was thinking that you could mash together two random tweets to create a pretty interesting story. For example there is a Rumi quotation on my tweetdeck right now that says, “The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.” At the same time, a blogger, Lady Lovely, tweeted a link to her post called “Let’s start an epidemic.” What if we had an epidemic break out in a small town that causes everyone to lose their hearing, yet they bond in ways that never could have happened when they were able-bodied?
    Still love the story of how you came up with your WIP on the felon who gets a writer to write his story.
    {{{Hugs}}} Kozo
    P.S.
    My fingers are crossed for the timely delivery of the RUC.

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 4:38 pm

      This is amazing, Kozo! I don’t know how to blog with my twitter feed on a different screen, but I’m determined to figure it out 😀 I love the fact that you put those two lines together to create an idea for an entire story – now that’s what I’m talking about!!! Pure genius 😀

      I’m hoping I’ll be sitting on my porch on the RUC this time next week (keep those fingers crossed!) {{{Hugs}}}

      Like

  26. bulldog / Feb 18 2013 3:22 pm

    I listen to people talk ..and get ideas… just watching people I don’t know.. gives me ideas… I create all sorts of things just watching people walking their dog and imagining what is going on in their lives… worry about my imagination sometimes…

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 4:42 pm

      LOL – there’s never any need to worry about your imagination, Bulldog! 😉 You are the designer and creator of “terratry” as well as being an awesome photographer – what a talent! 😀

      Like

  27. Denise Hisey / Feb 18 2013 4:17 pm

    That’s fun reading about other people’s inspirations for ideas.
    My 2012 NaNo novel idea came to me about a week before NaNo started. The idea was born from a trunk of letters my grandma saved from when she and my grandpa courted by mail (in the early 1900s). I was always fascinated with those old yellowed letters she saved. They really made an impression on me and that’s the basis for my novel “Letters of a Lifetime”. The story is very different -no romance, but it is based on a family secret discovered in some letters saved in a trunk.

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 18 2013 4:44 pm

      Amazing. This is the kind of story I absolutely love (and the background of what inspired it makes it all the more interesting) 😀

      Like

  28. jannatwrites / Feb 18 2013 4:47 pm

    Great idea adding a section about where your story ideas came from. Most of my ideas come from “what if” scenarios that run through my head when I watch the news, read articles, or interact with people. Some of the ideas come out of left field and I never saw them until they smacked me in the head.

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 19 2013 7:59 am

      LOL! It’s so good when ideas smack you in the head 😀 I love it! I do the “what if” scenario as well – that’s a great way to create an entire story 😉

      Like

  29. The Bumble Files / Feb 18 2013 5:11 pm

    Dianne, these are all great ideas. My ideas usually come from a number of places, dreams, people, conversations, real life events. It’s hard to pin point. Great post.

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 19 2013 8:02 am

      I’m so glad you like this, Amy 😉 It’s always good to see where others get their inspiration and ideas. You get yours from multiple points and that is always a great thing! 😀

      Like

  30. Bonnie / Feb 18 2013 5:43 pm

    Dianne…I love this idea! I am not a writer in the way you are, but I know that I often get my ideas for whatever I am working on or trying to solve/resolve, when I least expect it. I am a pure percolator…I have to drop the issue in and then metaphorically walk away and let the percolating begin. It’s almost as if when I am ‘not looking’ {not thinking about it} that the idea comes to me. What’s fun is that even though I know this, it still is exciting when it happens. 🙂

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    • diannegray / Feb 19 2013 8:04 am

      This is so true, Bonnie! If we walk away from it, it becomes clearer. I love the fact that you’re a percolator – what a great way to describe it! 😀

      Like

  31. ramblingsfromamum / Feb 18 2013 8:21 pm

    Di – brilliant and timing.. I just posted a short story and contemplating doing a short story book. I never thought I could…I ramble you know.. I can’t be succinct, but of late doing the challenges for various sites that put up photographs to write about…my creative juices are flowing..in fact the cup runneth over. They are my inspiration at present. 🙂

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 19 2013 8:06 am

      That’s fantastic! Let me know how you go with the book. I love having a cup that runneth over, best of luck to you my friend 😀

      Like

  32. Anna Belfrage / Feb 19 2013 1:39 am

    Hi Dianne,
    It’s impressive, isn’t it, how a random incident inspires one person to concoct a whole story, while another doesn’t even react. I guess it’s just a reflection on how differently we all view the world … As children, most of us are good at inventing whole trilogies based on the dead rabbit we found under the hedge, or the strange shadow we saw rushing over the playground one evening. As adults, we lose touch with our imaginations – after all, adults should view the world as a collection of facts – and where before we saw marvellous stories in humdrum events, we no longer do – well, unless you’re one of those madcap writer types like me – and you, and so many of your readers.
    Thank you for yet another thought provoking post, and I was quite flattered to have my own contribution up there among all the others 🙂

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 19 2013 8:15 am

      It was my pleasure putting your comment up here, Anna! You always make wonderful contributions to the conversation 😀 I so agree with your comment about thinking like a child – this is the only way we can let go of our ‘adult’ thoughts and get right into the creative side of our brains. All we have to do is watch children playing to know how incredibly creative they can be. Now we just need to re-learn how to think like that 😉

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  33. mcwoman / Feb 19 2013 2:01 am

    Hi Diane — My ideas come from observations of the world around me. My curiosity leads me by the nose and ta-da! a story appears. It’s like my fairy godmother sprinkles me with her inspiration dust and off I go. Believe it or not! 🙂

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 19 2013 8:16 am

      I totally believe you! I sometimes feel like ideas just shoot from the stars into my head 😀 It’s a wonderful feeling!

      Like

  34. Elisa/OCDReader / Feb 19 2013 2:32 am

    I come up with story ideas all the time, I just don’t follow through. From photographs, dreams, hiking with the dog and listening to music AND staring out the window and noticing things. Clouds can be helpful too 🙂 Oh, and people watching. I love making up what is going on with people as they walk by, eat lunch etc. Lovely post

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 19 2013 8:17 am

      Follow through, Elisa! You have a great ‘voice’ and I love reading what you’ve written. Now I just need a novel from you 😀

      Like

  35. mandyevebarnett / Feb 19 2013 3:26 am

    My ideas come from multiple places. One children’s book evolved from a prompt, one novel from feelings after an argument, another from my interest in reincarnation and the current one from my childhood experiences.
    The ‘seed’ of an idea seems to pop into my head and from there it’s free flow writing directed by the characters and their worlds.

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 19 2013 8:19 am

      This is great, Mandy 😀 I love ‘multiple places creative thoughts’. Stories seem to surround you and that’s always a good thing 😉

      Like

  36. billyraychitwood1 / Feb 19 2013 7:05 am

    Newspaper articles, random thoughts, ‘the passing parade,’ and, sometimes, just a line pops into my head, sticks there, and I must start and build a book around it: e.g., At the end of a beautiful day I’m sitting on the deck watching a beach vendor slowly plodding along with serapes draped over his shoulder; he looks so weary my heart goes out to him, and a story develops in my head about murder and mayhem… it resulted in the fifth book of my Bailey Crane Mysteries “A Soul Defiled…” Go figure! Unfortunately, I’m not a great plotter of books, not terribly original, so my humble efforts tend to be simple, the ‘muse and fuse’ type of reads. Hey, at least I’m active…

    WHERE’S THE RUC?

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 19 2013 8:27 am

      I love the way you think, Billy Ray. This is true creative thought! 😀 The way a simple act leads to an entire story involving murder and mayhem sounds exactly like my thought process 😀

      I’m still waiting for the RUC move. The last approval is still coming. The RUC is sitting on the truck waiting patiently and (fingers crossed) it should be all go go in the next few days! We need police assistance (for the large load on the highway), the national rail okay (because it has to cross train tracks) and electricity authority okay (going under powerlines). Sheesh!

      Like

  37. ripe red berries / Feb 19 2013 7:51 am

    You are so right – ideas are everywhere – now where’s the time to write them down? ! (:

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 19 2013 8:29 am

      Ah – so incredibly true! I need to find more time and if I find out how to do it, I’ll certainly share the secret 😀

      Like

  38. jmmcdowell / Feb 19 2013 8:08 am

    Great post, Dianne! I think my ideas come from the characters, who exist “out there” and have a way to get into our heads. Maybe a partial idea comes from something around me, and then some characters say, “Oh, she could write our story. Let’s get in her head.” However it works, I’m glad there are so many creative people in the world!

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 19 2013 8:32 am

      I’m glad there are so many creative people in the world as well, JM! Imagine how boring it would be without being surrounded by all this creativity (I would definitely not know anything about archaeology!) 😀

      Like

  39. Hazy Shades of Me / Feb 19 2013 11:11 am

    LOL, Dianne! I LOVE being IN your post, but if I had’ve known, I’d have at least attempted to be more elegant! ;0) Besides that, thank you so much for using my snippet. I’m honoured!

    Ever since you wrote the original post, it’s been on my mind … how stories come to us, and it is truly amazing, I feel so blessed to want to tell them.

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 19 2013 1:08 pm

      I’m so glad you don’t mind that I put your comment here 😉 You are very eloquent! I’m glad the thought has stayed with you – it’s really an interesting and intriguing subject…

      Like

  40. Christina / Feb 19 2013 3:36 pm

    Frustration and inspiration brought to me by someone else are my sources. Not sure if that’s a good thing, but I do get ‘triggered’ most of the time…

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 19 2013 5:35 pm

      It’s really good you’ve found something to do with frustration – there’s nothing worse than having that hanging around 😀 Good work!

      Like

  41. Jacqui Murray / Feb 20 2013 3:35 am

    what a great post. I love the diversity.

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 20 2013 6:31 am

      It’s really good to hear how other writers get ideas. It makes the world just that much more interesting 😀

      Like

  42. Tracy / Feb 20 2013 5:40 am

    Thanks for gathering and sharing all these ideas Dianne. I think we make sense of our experiences through stories (we may not realise that’s what we’re doing because often we don’t write them down or share them with anyone else). If we look at young children, pre-schoolers, often we hear them making up little stories about things that have happened in their day, pieces of their imaginations or dreams, things that scare them or make them feel happy. I wonder if we lose some of our story telling / creative ability when going through formal schooling because so much of it is focused on hard and fast facts – we seem not to value the more creative, expressive and emotional talents and instead try to cram as much ‘stuff’ into kids heads as possible. Before the written word, people shared important information through stories handed down over the years. They became legends, fables and myths but they are stories nonetheless. Eventually these spoken stories were written down and became our folklore. I think we all have the ability to tell stories and perhaps more people would be excellent story tellers if we allowed more creativity to flourish from an early age?

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 20 2013 6:34 am

      This is spot on Tracy! I love it when I hear children say – ‘lets make it…’ because they then come up with so many ideas for stories and who is who in the story. If we can just get that back and learn to think like children again we would be much more open to the creativity we once had. I absolutely love your comment! 😀

      Like

  43. Sheila / Feb 20 2013 9:02 am

    That’s a great idea to do a book of short stories while including where the ideas came from or what inspired you. Stories really are everywhere. Thank you for including my comment and making it seem like I knew what I was talking about! 🙂

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 20 2013 9:43 am

      My pleasure, Sheila!

      LOL – you DO know what you’re talking about 😀

      Like

  44. Peter / Feb 20 2013 10:05 am

    Funny, I never actually think about where stories come from. But then I don’t have to write on deadline either. 🙂
    I think the one thing the Internet has taught me, when I consider the sometimes bizarre interests some people have, is that on a local level you may be really unusual, but on a global level there may be hundreds and thousands of people just like you.
    As a result if there’s something I like it’s not all the unrealistic to expect that there will be other people who find similar things of interest.
    But more important for ME — whether or not anyone else cares about what I read or not — I just write about things I’m thinking about at the time. No filters. Or few filters — as there are still issues (like the selling of our house) that might be affected by how or what I blog about.
    But there, there are a million reasons for writing, aren’t there. 🙂

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 20 2013 4:26 pm

      There certainly are a million reasons for writing, Peter! It’s amazing the things that inspire us or give us the ideas to put pen to paper 😀

      Like

  45. Lynda / Feb 20 2013 12:11 pm

    Dianne, as I sat and read about how others find inspiration, I kept thinking “No, I don’t do that.” But then I realized that I do some of it, but in my own flavor. If you will. The book I am working on now is so full of me-isms that I fear to finally publish it because it may be too revealing of my inner self.

    I often run ideas by my husband, and he tries to be attentive 😉 though I know listening does not interest him. Yet it is a way for ME to ‘listen’ to what is developing and where I might like to go next. Just saying it out loud seems to work for me. Sometimes things just pop into my head, day or night, and I run to the computer to jot them down into my outline. Just little vignettes really, but I number them in a probable sequence where they wait for their debut.

    My most recent inspiration is the barn on the property we trying to buy. I think about the people who built it, the labor that went into it, the establishing of the livestock they sheltered there. I am itching to get into the repair that it needs so that I can house my own animals there, and then write from the experience of actually doing it! I want to lay out on the pasture on night(s) and listen to the creatures that are out and about, collecting the night noises, and looking for particular stars that I know are important to my characters too. So I guess I like to write from experience, and if I haven’t experienced it, then I make sure to try it out if it is practical to do so.

    I learn so much from your blog, and it gets me excited to get done!

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 20 2013 4:38 pm

      I’m really flattered that you learn from my blog, Lynda! I learn from my blog as well through all the fabulous comments I receive 😀

      I also read my stories out loud for my hubby to hear (he’s not interested in reading much more than the local newspaper!) and this really helps me pick up mistakes and get a better idea of where the entire thing is heading.

      I’m so glad the barn on the property you’re about to buy is inspiring you. I’m about to move an entire house that is over 100 years old onto my property. It clearly has an extremely interesting history having been built before the first world war. I’m sure once it’s set up and I’m in there I’ll get all sorts of ideas for stories and this is something I’m truly excited about (we have something amazing in common!) I’m really looking forward to reading about your experience of getting the place fixed up because I’ll be doing exactly the same thing 😀

      Like

      • Lynda / Feb 21 2013 2:01 am

        2013 is going to be an amazing year, Dianne!

        Like

  46. danpentagram / Feb 20 2013 2:20 pm

    A nice collection of quotes, Dianne. And i think you’ve hit the nail on the head when you say ‘there are no rules when it comes to writing’. My inspirational moments are so varied! Of course, Reading and reading always helps you imagination to run wild with ideas. But for my latest project (The Caseworker’s Memoirs) i have a phobia myself and it suddenly hit me one day to explore that.

    Just the other day actually, i went out the door to go to work (i work nights) and i looked up as i was walking to the car and saw the most amazing clear nights sky with hundreds and hundreds are twinkling stars. Out of nowhere a shooting star lit up the sky and lasted only a few seconds, but it was totally mesmerising! As i was driving to work a little idea sparked in my head about a future project and i couldn’t stop thinking about it all night!

    Two years ago i was listening to Fires, an album my British singer, Nerina Pallot. After listening to one of the songs, a fully formed idea suddenly overtook my mind and i had no choice but to stop what i was doing and write it all down in detail. Its a full-length adult novel (period drama) and something i don’t think im mature enough to handle just yet, but it took me completely by surprise how fully formed this idea was. It is currently sat in a folder by itself in my filing cabinet, just collecting dust, patiently waiting for me to unravel it and get started!

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 20 2013 4:45 pm

      It’s great that you can write from experience and exploring fears is a brilliant way to do that. You know what it’s like to have an extreme fear, so your characters will be fully fleshed as a consequence. When is The Caseworker’s Memoirs available for sale? I’ve looked at your blog and can’t find a link to buy it…

      Like

      • danpentagram / Feb 20 2013 5:01 pm

        I’m planning on releasing it some time in the Spring (it’s still Winter here in the UK *brrrr*). I’ve still got a bit of work to do on it and i’m using your guide you kindly sent me to plan a paperback release with LuLu. I can’t wait! 🙂

        Like

  47. Shakti Ghosal / Feb 20 2013 3:55 pm

    Hi Dianne,

    This is a great post.As I reflect, I realise that most of my inspiration comes from listening to others. As they share their passion and dreams, their aspirations and fears. As I listen , I wait for aspects which resonate inside. These are what triggers the heart and inspire.

    Shakti

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 20 2013 4:49 pm

      Thank you, Shakti – I’m so glad you liked this post 😉 Listening to people is a real art that a lot people don’t practice anymore. People seem too keen to tell ‘their side of the story’ – but those who listen are the ones that really learn. You are amazing 😀

      Like

  48. 4amWriter / Feb 20 2013 9:35 pm

    I love how you honor other writers on your blog, Dianne. Reading how other writers approach and handle their craft helps me remember there is no right or wrong way. Whatever works to help us get words on paper is the best way for that moment.

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 21 2013 6:19 am

      Thank you so much for the lovely compliment, Kate 😀 We’re all in this together and anything we can do to inspire and support each other is a wonderful thing! 😉

      Like

  49. gabrielablandy / Feb 22 2013 12:18 am

    This is just the sort of post I love. And really, there’s a story in where all these people get their ideas from. It just makes me realise that creativity and inspiration is endless, or cyclical, just constantly feeding into itself the more you give it.

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 22 2013 6:33 am

      This is so true, Gabriela. Even though we’re all so different there are many things that will always drive us – and the main one is the basis of our creativity 😉

      Like

  50. Linda / Feb 22 2013 6:08 am

    What a great post Dianne! I’m with Misha. I like to mix things up at random. I’ve found that first I think of a situation and throw in a twist and then mix in a third unexpected element. I get lots of ideas from dreams. If I’m stumped for an idea I start writing about anything and an idea will come in a say, you don’t want to write about that . . . write about this!! Ha! Funny the way that works.

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 22 2013 6:42 am

      I can see that third unexpected element in your posts, Linda. You have such a fantastic way of viewing the world – I’m not easily surprised, but you do it to me every time! 😀

      Like

  51. bluebee / Feb 23 2013 8:02 am

    So interesting to read what writers have to say on this topic. I haven’t written anything other than poetry for a very long time – I have a supposed novel brewing away (overcooking at this point) and the idea for that arose from snippets of conversation. My poetry mostly comes from life events, and observing human behaviour.

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 23 2013 9:18 am

      I also find it very interesting to hear how writer’s find inspiration. Poetry to me is so about the here and now and I love the fact that life events can be wrapped up so beautifully in a poem! 😀

      Like

  52. Suzanne / Feb 24 2013 1:17 pm

    This is fascinating reading. For me story lines and characters form in my mind as I read and think about ideas and ways of living that interest me. I imagine how the ideas could be presented in a story.

    Like

    • diannegray / Feb 25 2013 6:49 am

      I’m so glad you liked it, Suzanne 😀 Reading is a great way to inspire our creativity!

      Like

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