Sunday, February 7, 2010

Ideas… From Who, What, When, How, & Where?

Writers are known for their creativity, their wild imaginations, and the ability to put thoughts into well rounded words onto paper for those who lack that ability to read and enjoy… (and sometimes envy). But the question is, where does this special breed of human get their ideas from. What deep well do they dig those creative characters out of and what cave do they enter to find that wild imagination? Many writers get their ideas from the world around them. Article writers for Parenting magazines watch their own children or other people's children and the ideas of articles begin to flow. The same also applies for writers of sports, animals, and even car enthusiasts. The ideas for their stories and articles all thrived from somewhere within planet Earth.

I recently asked a fellow writer colleague of mine, Lisa Marie Miles, a fiction/director/script writer, how her ideas formed. She explained to me, "I get them everywhere. I just heard a country song this morning about a guy who didn't have a close relationship with his dad and when the dad died he left him all his money, much to the dismay of his kids. I didn't get the entire song words, but that's the jist of it. That immediately gave me an idea for a story or more specifically, for one of the characters in my YA novel. I'm open all day long to hearing and taking in ideas. If I hear something interesting, I immediately think, 'Where can i use that'? If I can't in a current project, I'll write it down on an index card and file it in a special box I have."

Ideas can come from anywhere at any time of day. I know quite a few writers who get some of their best ideas while they are in the shower. Many of my ideas stream from the shower, while I'm driving, or as I'm drifting off to sleep. My idea for this specific post crawled out of the dark last night while I was in the process of falling asleep. 

Ideas are limitless no matter how many times a similar idea has been put into print. Honestly, there are no ORIGINAL ideas left in the world since the beginning of time. Each idea has been done somewhere at some point in time. Take magazines for example, the articles you read have been spun in so many different directions from one single original idea. If you wanted to write about "tips to potty train your child". That isn't original in any way, shape, or form, but the way you write it and put your own special spin on it. No matter what you're writing, it has sprung up from somewhere and it's your job to take that idea and mold it, shape it, and make it your own. Put your signature on it and it will always be yours. 

So, how do you get your ideas? Dreams, magazines, movies, the commute to work (if you're not working at home and even so, maybe you pass your cat in the hallway and he does something worth writing about at that one moment). If that is the case, you're so lucky. My cat eats, sleeps, and eats some more. Not a lot to write about there. Ideas are all around us. Just go to your favorite search engine and type in a word of something that may interest you. The search could bring up tons of ideas for you to start creating your next newest masterpiece.


Lisa Marie Miles said...

Another way I get ideas is from scouring the newspaper every day. People do a lot of dumb stuff.

Jeff King said...

I get 1000 of ideas a day. They just come to me out of pondering in my head. I really don't get them from any outside source. My mind is constantly revolving with ideas. I have about 10 books outlined, once I finish my first book, I might get around to writing them.

I should mention, just because I get an idea doesn't make it a good one. I get a really good plot twist or book idea, or character, or scene in a day, and I’ll spend that whole day and sometimes the next; thinking about it constantly. If it feels right and the bugs get worked out in my head, I’ll write it down in detail in the "book idea" folder on my word processor.

There is an endless supply of stories out there, give me a paper clip and I’ll turn it into a story. I am never lost on what to write, sitting in front of my computer.

All writers are different, but we are the same in one aspect. We can turn most anything into a story. If you struggle to find stories, yet thrive in the art of writing, maybe you better off being an editor.

Either way, I wish every writer luck and success…

The Kid In The Front Row said...

I don't have any ideas. Hence my writing is really plain and normally about waste disposal.