Ask any writer and she or he will tell you they are full of bright ideas. Ideas are a writer’s stock and trade. Sometimes we have too many ideas and not enough time to fully flesh them out. The most commonly asked question is “where do you get your ideas from?”
There’s no standard answer to the above question.Every writer you speak with will come up with a different answer. There’s no one place. No one Ideas-R-Us where we can go in and browse leisurely for just the right idea.
So, where do they come from?
It can all start with a question. If the most common question asked to a writer is “where do you get your ideas”? Then the most common question a writer asks is “What if…” Those two little words can send a writer down the rabbit hole and lose her for days as an idea forms in her head. I’m currently experiencing that right now. A new idea has come to me and I can’t stop thinking about it.
An idea can come from a newspaper headline. Current events are ripe for story development. You have to admit that life is sometimes stranger than fiction.
People watching. When writers aren’t climbing out of rabbit holes or reading the newspaper, they are people watching. It’s a writer’s number one sport. We look for the odd, the different, the memorable and create a story. Why is an elderly man sitting alone at a table sipping a coffee in the middle of the day at the mall? Has he been abandoned by his ungrateful son? Has he wandered off from the assisted living facility? Did he give his Black American Express card to his 25 year old girlfriend and is waiting for her? But, we know she’s hooking up with her hunk of a boyfriend and they’re plotting the old man’s murder.
Our own experiences. Sometimes we dig into our lives for certain events and can use them to weave a story. Maybe a summer memory of your family renting a house on the New Jersey shore can be used to write about a woman who is trying to rebuild her life after a tragic loss and she goes back to the place where she lived carefree and laughed.
Writers get ideas from everywhere. A word in passing. A quick glance out the window. A flower blooming. Inspiration is all around us. We just need to know what to do with the ideas.