Ideas Everywhere

24 08 2009

As a writer, I don’t lack for inspiration. Now, dedication…that might be a whole other post. But I find inspiration everywhere. Story ideas can be found in almost every facet of everyday life and I constantly find myself playing a mental game of “what if?”

Oh…that woman over there in the grocery story has six small children! Red haired, freckle faced stairsteps from about age two to no older than eight, and they are a lively bunch. What if… one of the kids disappeared? (I’m not literally contemplating kidnapping, just to be clear. Plot bunnies are completely separate from real life.) What if… she forgot one of them in the store?  What if… she walked away from her husband and kids and left her hubby to suddenly have to raise them on his own?  What if… she’s widowed and no one wants to date her because of her kids?  What if… What if… What if.

I get a lot of ideas from pictures.  Some online writer friends and I are currently doing a little challenge where we’re using an old photo of a couple of kids holding watermelons outside an old farm stand and bait shop.  The challenge is to write about 1000 words based on the picture. It can be the start of a bigger story or a small stand alone short story.  Then by August 31st we’ll all e-mail each other our stories so we can see how different they all turned out.  It’s just a fun thing we decided to do on the spur of the moment.

I also love writing prompts.  A writing group I meet with every week has a writing prompt game we play sometimes.  We call it the box-o-doom, and it contains tons of slips of colored paper. One color represents character, another setting, another a plot twist, and the other an object. Every person randomly draws one slip of each color and then writes a story including all the elements. We periodically add new ideas into the box, and let me tell you, we can get pretty wild with what we put in there. It’s a challenge.  My current WIP actually started from a box-o-doom prompt. That night I drew: A cornfield, the car breaks down, pancaked makeup, and a wizard with his pet dragon.  I had to think on that for a minute, but I set my story on Halloween and ran with it.

The birth of ideas and reveling in creativity is one of my favorite parts of the writing process. It’s the fun stage where anything can happen, and I love the endless possibilities.

So what sparks your imagination? Leave a comment and tell me all about it.

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8 responses

24 08 2009
Traci Kenworth

It can be photos, music, dreams, tv shows, interaction with other people, past experiences, there doesn’t seem to be an end to where inspiration comes from and thank goodness!! Currently, my wip is based on a picture of a flower that I saw and just developed a storyline out from it. What if this beautiful flower was beautiful to the eye but deadly to the touch? What if it held a cure for a new disease? Everything branched out from there and viola, I have my story!

24 08 2009
Estelle

That sounds like an intriguing story, Traci. I completely understand the ideas coming from everywhere. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

25 08 2009
Debra St. John

Inspiration is everywhere. Songs really inspire me. They can touch off one small idea or one large enough to get me through an entire manuscript. People watching is fabulous, too. I always say that’s the reason for attending live sproting events. Not to watch the game, but to take in the drama unfolding in the stands!

25 08 2009
Estelle

Oh, songs! I didn’t even think about music when I was writing my post. For me, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a story idea from a song, but once I have the story idea, songs definitely inspire scenes. When I’m working on an idea and hear a song that feels like it belongs on the “soundtrack” for my book it gets me thinking about scenes and plot events and emotions in my story. And I totally agree with the people watching at sports events…me not being much of a sports fan, that’s the only reason I go, LOL.

25 08 2009
Mary Ricksen

Ideas for stories can come from anywhere. Quick thinking with the Halloween idea!
Sometimes I just sit in the mall and watch people. Their look, attitude, clothing, all of it can inspire me. After all our stories are about people.

25 08 2009
Estelle

Good point about people being the heart of our stories, Mary. That’s so true and I love picking up little quirks for characters from people watching. 🙂

26 08 2009
lorettaC

It weird where you can find inspiration.

lorettaC,
lbcanton@verizon.net

1 09 2009
Estelle

It is weird, but I think it’s a blessing to be able to find creative inspiration everywhere. 🙂

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