Ideas: Where do they come from?

story-ideas

It’s a question most writers will be asked. Where do you get your ideas? Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I’d love to say there’s a honey pot full of sweet, sticky ideas just waiting to dip your finger into. But there’s not.

However, ideas are everywhere. You just need to be open to them.

The thing with ideas is, they never arrive fully formed. As nice as it would be, ideas don’t just pop in your head – character, plot, story, setting, climax – ready to go. Usually it will be just a seed. A thought. A question. A character. A what if?

Writers need to be open and tuned into their surroundings. To sounds, conversations, smells, settings. Writers also need to read – and not only fiction. Newspaper articles, websites, life stories. So many of these can trigger a thought or an idea.

Pictures and photographs can be an amazing source of ideas. By studying a picture you can use word associations, or questions and possibilities to come up with a treasure load of ideas.

Once you have the idea you should write it down as soon as possible. Ideas can float in and out of your head so quickly. And they can often be more of a hindrance if you leave them unattended in your mind. You’ll find that they will percolate and steal part of your creative brain from the story you’re currently working on. So write them down.

Developing the idea from a seed to a story is where the fun is. You may find over time the idea grows organically, where you’ll be adding to the notebook thought by thought. Or, you may find you need to sit down, pen in hand, and use brain power to flesh out the idea. Thinking of a character, a problem, a conflict, a setting, a time line. Often that will be enough to start your idea growing.

So where do ideas come from? Everywhere! You just need to be open to letting them in. And often, the more you tune in, the more ideas will come your way.