Where do ideas come from?
It’s the question writers are most frequently asked – and probably the one that’s hardest to answer. Ideas come from everywhere…and nowhere. How do you explain that?
They are like thistledown, Will o’ the Wisps drifting on the wind, and sometimes they can fall apart in your fingers if you attempt to reach out to capture them.
Ideas can emerge from daydreaming, or materialise from nowhere when you’re bored. They are all around us, in newspaper and magazine headlines, perhaps from an unusual name spotted when the credits roll at the end of a TV programme. Scents, memories, the sight of harassed mum trying to calm a disruptive child at the supermarket checkout.
Crime author, Pauline Rowson, who writes the brilliant DI Andy Horton mystery series, recently told a gathering of her readers, that she gleans many of her ideas while out walking with her husband along the Portsmouth waterfront and Solent area, which provide the atmospheric backdrops for her novels.
Always on the lookout for a good place “to put a body”, Pauline keeps her eyes and ears open when she’s out and about.
What’s at the end of that lane? … inside that crumbling old building? … behind the big oak tree on the far side of that field?
Perhaps snatches of overheard conversation, will be enough for some of us to ignite the spark that can be worked up into a good story.
The truth is, anything can kick-start an idea…
Aaron Gilbreath, US writer and essayist, wrote this thought provoking article.
An unexpected encounter, or recollection can often be enough to set things going, says American novelist, playwright, Gore Vidal.
Authors get story ideas from their imagination and their experiences. Writers are observant people, and observant people come up with ideas. If you would like to come up with original ideas, try some of the following: Read, Read, Read! The more you know, the more you can imagine. Watch the world. Observe what is going on around you and pay attention to how things work. Wonder. Ask questions like “how does that work?” and “what would happen if …”
Well, what do you think? Do you have a favourite way of sourcing writing ideas? Go on…tell all!
But meantime, have a great week everyone. Rx