Sunday, October 2, 2011

Where DO Those Ideas Come From?

Anyone who is creative is asked at some point or another where they get their ideas. Is it based on personal experience, come from a dream, overheard in a conversation, or do the ideas just come out of thin air?

For writers there are a variety of ways to get ideas for books. Magazine and newspaper articles can be a source of inspiration. Shannon Hale takes folk and fairy tales and reworks them into novels, while some mystery writers take old, unsolved cases as jumping off points for books.

On a couple of occasions I’ve asked myself the question “What if?” to get started telling a story. What if two good friends who had loved the old Nancy Drew books as girls found themselves in the middle of a murder mystery? And what if a woman is left alone in a seaside house with a mysterious portrait of an unknown woman while a storm rages outside the house and inside her mind?

Sometimes just carrying around a notebook so when an idea strikes you can jot it down can get you going. But the main thing is to keep your eyes and ears open. I’ve gotten story ideas from others that think I could use them, and I have!

One particular story happened to me personally, though not to the extent I wrote about it. I woke up one night to hear to men arguing in the street below my bedroom window. It started to turn violent so, after shaking the sleep out of my brain I made my way to the window and looked out on an empty street. That got me thinking too!

Wherever, however you get your ideas the thing that I believe is that you need to follow through with them. It may turn out or it may not. If you’re a writer too, just give it a shot and see what you wind up with. Probably a pretty darned good story!

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