I’m often asked how I come up with my ideas.
Sometimes I sit down and try to conjure up the most awesome idea. Half an hour of concentrated brainstorming usually doesn’t get me much. It would be embarrassing to share even the best of these.
So where do the best ideas come from?
I’ve found three places that provide the most inspiration.
The first is the shower.
Somehow just relaxing under the hot water lets my mind roam. I start by thinking about what I need to get at the grocery store and suddenly I’ve got a heroine in a predicament: the gist of a story. Or I finally get a brainstorm on how to fix a plot hole and add an entire new layer to my work in progress.
The second is prayer.
Somehow, communicating with the Creator of all things opens up a well of creativity in me. Whole scenes seem to write themselves. It’s almost like being shown a movie of what happens next in the story. I can’t seem to take notes fast enough when this happens.
The third place is from other writers.
No, I’m not promoting plagiarism. But reading another’s works gives me ideas that I can play with.
I’ll give you an example.
Recently, I was re-reading one of my favorite sci-fi series. The main character used a mundane object to get herself out of a tight situation.
Then I started thinking. What if I used that same ordinary, uninteresting object and gave it some kind of magical power?
That was the birth of the idea for my current work in progress, a novella I’m writing while my novel Raising Fear is with my editor.
Beyond these three main sources of inspiration, I do what nearly every other writer does.
I observe life around me.
People I see, overhear, situations that come up, events that happen, all of these can be adapted for use in a story. Usually what I observe gets molded and reformed to fit the needs of my story. But the inspiration came from life.
The ideas are out there for the taking. It just takes a little observation.
And then asking the question “What if—”