This week I’m addressing one of the most common questions writers are asked: “Where do you get your ideas?”
Every writer has been asked this mystifying question and the short answer is: Everywhere. Ideas are everywhere–if you know where and how to look for them.
Writers tend to be people-watchers (some call it being nosy) and spend time observing life around them. Any seemingly innocent person on the street, a snippet of conversation, or a creepy locale can appeal to our vivid imaginations and spark a story idea. In short, writers find ideas everywhere.
Stories often come from observing something (for example, a car in a lake) and then develop as the writer uses his/her imagination to get to the heart of the story. Bits and pieces of other ideas are added in until the final product is a blend of several ideas/observations.
Although it may seem like the author wrote the story based on one clever idea, the story is often a compilation of many ideas woven together. Other times, ideas for characters, stories, or scenes just pop in our heads and seem to magically create themselves – but this is rare.
How can you find ideas to inspire your next book? Go somewhere and look around. Watch the people (what they’re doing, how they interact with one another) and let your mind wander. Ask yourself what might happen next - or - what might have just happened.
For a writing exercise, pick a person (or an event) and write a paragraph or two about it. Keep a list of things that capture your attention and think about how you could develop them into a story. Remember, a great idea can come from an ordinary occurrence, such as a car being towed, a dog escaping its leash, or a woman pushing an empty stroller. Keep your eyes (and mind) open for possibilities.
Some of my books were inspired by strange ideas. Here’s a short list:
A Most Unusual Princess – The opening scene of Dalton watching Elara “bathing” popped into my head and I began wondering “what sort of princess is she?”
The Sexy Stranger – I had an idea for a hot guy kidnapping a woman – and then played around with it. He quickly discovers that she’s the wrong woman!
Trust with Hearts – The idea for this book came to me just before a country singer’s concert. I took notes on scraps of paper and started writing the outline the next day.
Beauty & the Bigfoot – I couldn’t get the idea of a Bigfoot hunter’s daughter falling in love with Bigfoot out of my head. I’m not sure where the idea came from, but reviewers loved the book!
A Perfect Match – The idea for this new release (coming March 27) came to me in a dream. I’ll be blogging more about that later this month. It’s a crazy story!
Next week, I’ll talk about how you can conjure up ideas by playing the “what if” game. It’s a great way to get your mind working!
Until next time,
Have a question you'd like to see me address on the blog? Email me via my website: www.KelliWilkins.com