Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What a great idea!

So Nano's right around the corner, and I thought I'd talk about where I get my ideas. (Apologies to those of you non-nanners out there. You must be sick of us by now.)

Ideas come to me constantly. I am not exaggerating when I say a story spark comes to me every day. From my posts, you've already seen that I can make connections where there are none. The same thing happens when it comes to story ideas.I get my ideas from everything that happens in my life.

A Sentence or Phrase
As I was walking home, I saw a guy go the wrong way on a one way street, and it reminded me of a joke we have at home.

This guy is kind of drunk and driving home one night, when he finds himself on a one way street. A policeman stops him.

"Where do you think you're going?"
"I don't know, Officer," the man replies, "But I must be late, 'cuz everybody's coming back."

The phrase "everyone's coming back" stuck in my head. And I thought of a story with an MC who feels like their friends have already reached their destination and are passing him on their way back.

A single word

I was commenting on a blog, and the verification was "ables." Suddenly I was imagining a dystopian society, where you have the regular people, and then those who have developed powers the others don't have - the Ables.

Something you see
Sometimes I'll see a random object on the ground and start to imagine it's story. For example, I can see a pink ribbon and imagine a girl who was a ballerina as a child and her dream was to become a prima, but then she was involved in a bad accident as a teen, and while she can now walk again, she will never dance the same way. SO she throws every thing that reminds her of ballet out the window. Her mother goes out and picks them up, in case her daughter someday wants the memories, but this one ribbon escapes and twirls along on the almost empty main street.

A story you hear
Sometimes a factual story on the news or in the paper, can set me off imagining. Admittedly, this doesn't happen very often since I tend not to go looking for the news, and my tv is in Japanese.

The ones that get me most commonly are tragic stories. Someone's been run over, or murdered their wife. The average person asks themselves, "What would make someone do that?" or merely says, "What a waste!" I start building a plot in my mind.

What if
What if a deaf person wanted to become a concert pianist?

Okay, I'll admit this is not really a what-if, but somethin I saw. My hearing impaired student can play the keys off a piano.

A character
Sometimes a character lodges him/herself in my brain, and eventually tells me his/her story. Like Clarkson Bourne, who's always drunk, and gets into all kinds of messes on account of it.

A theme
After my trip to India, I knew I had to write a story about one set of people oppressing another.

A setting
On occasion a setting inspires a story in me. Living in Japan, I want to some day write a story set here. Also, having gone to a military academy, I'd like to write a story set there one day as well.

A Song
I love music, and there are lots of songs that tell stories. Sometimes, I feel like expanding a song into a novel, or even just capturing the spirit of a song in a novel. Some examples: MISERY BUSINESS by Paramore, SK8ER BOI by Avril Lavigne, pretty much every song Taylor Swift sings, CALIFORNIA GIRLS by Katy Perry, ORDINARY DAY by Vanessa Carlton and 22 by Lily Allen.

All of these are really just sparks, and need development before they could be converted into a novel. But even the tallest tree comes from a seed.

Where do you get your ideas?


Jon Paul said...

It's very strange, but things seem to come to me in the shower. It's like the frequency of the water hitting the tile and the dull hum of the faucet stimulate my brain in unexplained ways.

The trick is to not sing, I think. If I sing, it's all over. No dice. :D

Great post, BTW!

Autumn said...

I found a picture of a girl while I was at a gas station. There wasn't much interesting about the picture, but I started wondering who she was and why the picture ended up there. Now I think my Nano story is going to be about a guy who becomes obsessed with a girl in a picture and what happens when he finally comes face to face with her.

Marieke said...

I'd love to read both the story set in Japan and the military academy one! :D

For me, Japan is an inspiration too, but more its history and stories!

Great to have found your blog. I'd follow, but Google won't let me! *glares at Google*

Elana Johnson said...

I get a lot of cool titles from music. Of course, I never write those books, but you know. I love your list!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I agree, there's so much in our world right where we are to give us our ideas for stories. You've lived and been so many different place that I can see why you have so many cool ideas.

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