Where do you get your ideas from?

We have all read countless interviews, Q&A’s with authors etc where one question in particular is constantly asked of many writers,

Where do you get your ideas from?

I can’t answer for all authors, but from what I have experienced myself, (I’m still a novice by all accounts) and other sources, the answer is simply this; anywhere and everywhere!
You will hear many authors say that a writers brain is always writing even when they are not writing. I can confirm this statement fully, its a peculiar thing really you can be doing a simple everyday task such as, washing the dishes and your cogs will whirr. from deep within your (as Hercule Poirot would say) “little gray cells.” You start asking yourself questions like “what if this dish suddenly gained the power of intelligence, sprouted limbs, and started a revolution.” Then other things start bouncing around within your imagination that lead off (and sometimes away) from your original question to yourself. it doesn’t just stop there however. Ideas can come from a conversation with someone that once again fires up the imagination also situations that you have previously been involved in that you invert and exaggerate to transform into a story of epic proportions. The adage “Write what you know,” is also very true and its something to definitely keep in mind. This constant influx from your over-powering imagine always requires you to have a pen and paper at hand because its when you don’t it will be something brilliant and it usually ends with you kicking yourself.
I’m currently in the middle of writing my first novel as well as a few short stories. My ideas always have (and hopefully always will) come from all manner of places. My most common source is dreams that I have, obviously sometimes dreams can be completely nonsensical, and a salvaging of a story from these is literally like looking for a needle in a haystack. But, the ones that aren’t completely bonkers have at least a great outline or character motivation or situation etc. These dreams must obviously be refined into something that’s workable but when the basic idea is there, anything is possible. I (and probably many other writers) have sheets and sheets of paper of ideas, that have started off as something small and have grown into a towering, snarling, slobbering behemoth of an idea. Its almost like the smallest snowball, rolling down a hill and gradually continuing to grow in size. So the age old question of “Where do you get your ideas from?” Can be answered thus: “Where *don’t* I get my ideas from?” For, a writers brain is constantly writing; imagining worlds of fantastic proportions, where the impossible is more than probable and dreams become all the more real.

9 thoughts on “Where do you get your ideas from?

  1. Post-it notes are my friend. I always have one of the small square pads handy because if I see an article, phrase or event that has even the slimmest chance of being all or part of a story I write it down and stick it on my desk. At the end of the week I transcribe the notes into a file on scrivener. And RSS readers are the best app ever invented for writers looking for ideas.

    • Wow, that is a unique process and a great one too! I like the idea of compiling phrases/articles etc into a formed idea! Its also very organised and a contemporary approach to sourcing the food fit for writing.

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