Saturday, October 27, 2012

Where Do Ideas Come From?

With NaNo prep running rampant everywhere, the forums teeming with excellent plots and characters so alive you hear their pulse, isn't it remarkable there's so many ideas out there, so many stories to be told?

Sometimes it doesn't feel that way, does it? Sometimes, when you're facing that blank page, it seems there are no more ideas anywhere, everything sounds trite, cliched, boring. On these same forums I've heard the comment "all you guys have such great ideas, mine sucks" so often I keep having to check it's not the same person. No, it's not. But here's the clincher: that person's idea sounds awesome to me.

Where do ideas come from? Where do we get the inspiration for what we write? What kick-starts our imagination into a snowballing run that ends in that disorganized, ultra fertile mess of a novel's first draft? Do we all get inspired by the same things--overheard conversations, autobiographical stuff, a story in the newspaper that sparks a what if? Or do we have different sources? Because, see, if we share these sources, then the next time any of us is stuck in the myideassuck rut, we can try a different source.

Where do mine come from? They mostly start with a what if applied to a biographical (auto or otherwise--yes, I steal others' lives for my fiction) situation.

What if my mother, instead of being such a progressive thinker, had been more traditional? How would that have affected the way I turned out? What if, instead of falling into the trap of fear, I'd kissed that hunky guy? What if, what if?

When I hear someone reminiscing about their childhood, about their first love, their first date, their first tequila binge... I can't help but place that into the context of who they are now. That reveals character to me. That makes me want to expand on it.

How about you?


  1. I think the more you pay attention to the world around you, the easier it is to be inspired, because you're absorbing as much information as possible :)

    ...that being said, I have no idea where I get my ideas from since they tend to spring fully formed from my brain, like Athena from Zeus ;)

    1. Athena, in full armor... Such a pretty, gory picture :D You're right, though--paying attention to the world makes for great inspiration. thanks for the visit!

  2. All of my fiction ideas have come from dreams, but it's the real world that expands them into more.

    1. Dreams! Wow... I've had a few that seem worth exploring, but somehow the narrative momentum peters out after a bit. I'll have to try that again, though. Thanks for stopping by!


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