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Writerly Wednesday: Ideas

Lots of people ask the same question: Where do you get your ideas? For some people, this might be an easy question to answer. Some folks may spend all day just coming up with new ideas, or having brainstorm sessions. Others may not be able to come up with ideas without really having to work to find them.

There isn't just one way that I come up with ideas. I don't sit down and just think things up. My ideas happen to come from all over the place.

Back in the old days of AOL, I started roleplaying with online friends. It was so much fun to jump into the world of a book or TV show that I loved. I would assume a character and write as though I were the character. It started out really small, but eventually moved toward online forums. Back then, I thought I wasn't good enough to come up with original worlds or ideas, so taking on characters created by other people and making up storylines really worked for me. I was also super socially awkward as a teenager, so making friends online was really easy for me.

I have taken several of these ideas and brought them into new worlds and characters that I've created. The plot of my upcoming NaNoWriMo project is solely inspired by a villains' romance plot created on one of these roleplaying websites.

Other times, my ideas come from dreams. I don't always remember my dreams, but sometimes I can remember moments. I take that single moment and build from it. Last year, for NaNoWriMo, I wrote a 75,000 word novel on a single image: a woman placing a red rose on a snow covered headstone. That scene didn't even make it into the final novel, but I was able to take that solitary moment and develop it into a full length novel.

Ideas can come from anywhere. I'll be reading a book and a plot point will just hit me. No, I don't steal the thing I'm reading, but it can help to inspire your plot in your own stories.

Reading craft books has helped me as well. I really struggled with my villain in A Shield of Stars, but when I read Sacha Black's Villains book, I was able to figure out what was missing and make my villain more well rounded.

Sometimes, as I'm falling asleep, I come up with scenes in my head for my characters, and I'm able to work out more plot points.

It doesn't matter where the idea comes from. What matters is what you do with it. Happy creating, friends.




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