Today, while I was at work, someone asked a pretty common question about my writing, and that’s where do you get your ideas from?
The simple answer, is, the plot fairy hides them under my pillow at night. Wouldn’t that be nice? Just wake up, reach under and find a new fleshed out idea just waiting to be written about?
It’s actually a lot deeper then that.
I guess the first thing to say, is I want to write a book that I’d enjoy reading. I’d never write anything I hate. If I’m going to spend four to five months writing it and then another year editing it, I better like it.
The next part is usually the funnest. What if. What if this and what if that. I’ll wrestle with an idea for a while, sometimes months or even years before I start to write it out.
There’s also a lot of little details which go into my writing. I keep an ear or an eye out for things as I go about my day-to-day life. Like I once saw online someone commented how they wished there was more Romanian characters in literature which aren’t a gypsy. It’s something which has stuck with me for a while and something I want to put into a book in the future. Of course I’ll have to do massive amounts of research about the culture, but still.
The next thing comes from when I read books or watch TV shows. I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, being able to guess where something is going. I really hate it. There’s nothing more boring then a predictable story. So I try to surprise myself and see what twists I can work up.
As someone one told me, come up with a twist and throw it away. Then come up with a second twist and throw it away. These ones have already been thought of by your readers. The one(s) which remain are the ones to work with.
The last part is pretty easy. I try to look for stories and ideas which I felt like are new or haven’t been done to death. Once I have the bare bones of a story, I’ll run it by a few writer friends of mine and hear what they think. If they tell me its been done to death and doesn’t stand a chance, then it’s time to do some tweaking. If not, then we are good to go =)
Of course, this is just me describing stuff. When I’m working on ideas, I don’t follow this religiousness. Sometimes ideas come out of a conversation with a friend or a dream I’ve had.
Hmm, maybe it is the plot fairy after all….
Anyway, that’s what works for me. Everyone is different, some people spend years and years looking for ideas while other, they seem to grow in the back garden. I guess I’d say I’m in the second category. I’ve never had too many problems with this.
How do you get your ideas?