Hi SEers! Denise here to talk about where ideas for stories come from and how to find them. Here’s the definition of idea.
any conception existing in the mind as a result of mental understanding, awareness, or activity.
a thought, conception, or notion: That is an excellent idea.
an impression: He gave me a general idea of how he plans to run the department.
an opinion, view, or belief: His ideas on raising children are certainly strange.
a plan of action; an intention: the idea of becoming an engineer.
a groundless supposition; fantasy.”—dictionary.com
Where do some well-known authors believe their “thought, conception, or notion” originates from to create a story?
I get my ideas from everywhere. But what all of my ideas boil down to is seeing maybe one thing, but in a lot of cases it’s seeing two things and having them come together in some new and interesting way, and then adding the question ‘What if?’—Stephen King
I have a friend, Frank Redman, who’s contending bravely with brain cancer. I wanted to know more about gliomatosis cerebri, the cancer he has, and as I was reading about it, I suddenly had the idea for a novel…—Dean Knootz.
Take your real-life experience or that interesting idea you heard on the news. Ask yourself two questions: “Suppose …?” and “What if?” By doing so, turn a real-life story into fiction. That was the second bit of advice that my professor gave us. I’ve been doing exactly that for years.—Mary Higgins Clark
I wish I knew. They just seem to come from nowhere.—Michael Criton
‘I make them up,’ I tell them. ‘Out of my head.’—Neil Gaiman
Dwell in possibility.—Emily Dickinson
Sometimes the ideas just come to me. Other times I have to sweat and almost bleed to make ideas come. It’s a mysterious process, but I hope I never find out exactly how it works. I like a mystery, as you may have noticed.—J.K. Rowling
Fifteen Ways to Find That Story Idea
- Watch the news
- Listen to music
- Find an intriguing setting
- Use real-life experiences
- Take a writing class or learn a new skill
- Books, blogs, or magazines
- Spend some time in nature
- Do writing challenges or prompts
- Get inspired by images or artwork
- Travel and explore our world
- Keep a diary of your dreams
- Embrace that inner child by daydreaming or playing
Taking ideas from these areas and putting that what if that many authors mention can ignite an idea seed that can grow into a story.
What about you? Where do your ideas come from?