Friday, April 10, 2015

I is for Ideas

As a writer, one of the thing I get asked the most is where do I get my ideas.  And it's not always an easy question to answer.

Ideas for stories pop into my head all the time.  Sometimes it's a newspaper article that sparks something, sometimes a movie or television documentary.  Other times it's a song.  I have one book that sprang entirely from a single comment someone made in a documentary.  And oddly, when I went back and re-watched it after writing the book, I couldn't figure out what it was that had affected me so deeply.

The thing with ideas though, is that they need to be more than just a spark.  Once that spark has been set, I need to think about it for quite a while, trying to figure out if it's a big enough story to make a book.  Often they're not and the spark fizzles out.  Sometimes it's only once I get a second germ of an idea that a single spark comes alight.  Which is what happened for An Unstill Life (which began its life called The Boyfriend Plague).  It was an okay story as it was, but once I read an article about a school that wouldn't allow same sex couples at school dances, I had an idea how to make it even better.

Often ideas get changed and twisted so much in the actual writing of the book, it's difficult to see where the starting point may have been.  But as long as the story winds up being satisfying, I don't think it matters what sparked the initial idea.

Where do you get your ideas?


  1. Lying in bed at night waiting to fall asleep is often when things pop into my head. It's as if going over things from the day gets the juices flowing. :)
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

  2. I'm so glad the idea for Unstill Life didn't fizzle out. I love that book!! I'd say about 99% of my ideas fizzle out. It's rare I come up with something I love so much that it's a keeper. Good luck with the A-Z, and have a wonderful week!

  3. A spark is a pretty good way to put it. I get a lot from dreams, but they often don't go anywhere without something more to flame it up.

  4. I get ideas from all over and from things I have heard about. Definitely fascinating to see the way ideas twist and turn. :)

  5. One of my recent ideas is based off a song.

  6. I get loads of ideas from dreams. My first A-Z post came from a dream, which sparked my theme - a glimpse into the lives of YA/MG characters.

  7. I rememebr each instance where ideas came from. Not sure why, but they are vivid in my mind. I remember the exact place and time of day they occurred.

  8. Ideas are like fireflies. I think. I've never actually seen a firefly in person, but I hear they are hard to catch, and sooo worth it when you do. JEN Garrett

  9. Visiting from A/Z :) It is interesting to read about where you might get ideas for what you write. I'm not a writer, just write on my blog, but I know the ideas I get usually come late at night when I'm having trouble sleeping; I seem to write brilliant blog posts in my mind at 3 a.m. that I can barely remember the next morning.