I’m sure every creative writer has been asked at one time or another, “Where do you get your ideas?”
For many writers, the answer is as much a mystery to them as to their readers. It’s easy enough to say that the world around us is an endless source of inspiration, from the goofy neighbor that’s just asking for characterization, to books and movies that offer infinite imagination, to historical and current political and social issues. Sure, the world is a hotbed of ideas. But how does a long-ago bloody battle and creepy historical figure get translated into a full-fledged, infamous story about vampires? Where is the point in a writer’s mind where interesting facts become a fictional story?
For some aspiring writers, this is a question of deep, abiding interest. How do they take information and morph it into an absorbing story? It’s a very good question that unfortunately has as many answers as there are writers. One of the basic foundations of creative writing is to write what you know, which is a great place for any new writer to start. But this method is complicated when entering the realms of fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, horror, etc. Personally, I’ve never visited another planet. But most of my characters have.
For me as a scifi writer, books and movies play a large part in building my foundation of knowledge and creative imagination about science fiction. But I still can’t tell you how I go from a kernel idea to a convoluted storyline complete with cast of characters. (I suspect magic. Or perhaps a mental defect.) As a very visual person, I often “see” the action in my mind, like a movie unfolding. This helps to put me into the world, to build the scenes and flesh out my characters. It also helps me remain in a specific point of view, or smooth out a switch in point of view, which can keep reader confusion down and enhance their immersion in the story…but I digress.
Or maybe I was just avoiding the question. Because the truth is storylines and ideas often pop into my head from no source that I can pinpoint. And with my highly character-driven writing style, my stories often seem to get written without much discernable input from me. Scary? Um, yeah, I’ll admit it can be disconcerting. But it’s also the most fun I’ve ever had.
For those still looking for a source of inspiration, keep reading and keep writing, as often and as varied in subject as you can. Very likely inspiration will find you. ;)
Peace & Love,