1. kingzilla
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    kingzilla Senior Member

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    How do you find great ideas?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by kingzilla, Jul 26, 2012.

    Everyone is different and writes differently, but even before that, they have to figure out something original to write -- short story or novel or even poems. And I am sure that everyone does that differently as well. Do you brain storm? Read to get inspired? Search the webs? Go on walks to see if you can spot something unusual and maybe spark an idea. I know all I do is find a quite place in my basement and just lay there and think of all the possibilties. So my obvious question is: How do you find you ideas?


    -Kingzilla
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Not true. They only have to write the story from their own unique perspective.

    If you can't begin writing until you have an original story idea, you'll never write anything.

    As for sources of inspiration, just do a search for threads with the word inspiration in the title.
     
  3. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    I find ideas in the real world. I might overhear a snippet of conversation while standing in line waiting to order coffee, or see (but not hear) a scene unfolding across the street, or ....

    All it takes is to see something unusual and to ask, "What if?" or "Why are they ... ?"
     
  4. mickaneso
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    mickaneso Member

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    By writing! Keep writing your less original stories and develop your skill. It should come to you in time. The best way to have a good idea is to have a bunch of not so good ones first. Getting good at having ideas is the same as getting good at anything. It requires practice.

    Always keep in mind that good writing and good ideas aren't the same thing. If you're a good writer you can take a bad idea and still write a good book (and vice versa).
     
  5. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thump is right. I mostly think about things that have either happened to me -- or could have happened to me if things had been slightly different, or happened to a friend, or neighbor, or friend of a friend that I heard about, or even a news story I read online. Just recently, on this very site, someone new said they found us because they were searching for a parenting site, and that mostly what they write is homoerotica. That made me think (and I even commented to this effect) that that could be a great premise for a story, although carry it a little further. Maybe a novel about a parent who is the primary caretaker, but his/her profession involves writing erotica or producing homoerotic films or something. It could be interesting to explore the dichotomy between this writer getting really into writing a scene and being constantly interrupted by the kids, and having two completely different images to uphold among different groups of people, and either preventing the kids from finding out or dealing with them finding out, how this affects the relationship with the MC's SO. You could introduce other genre elements, like mystery or romance, or whatever. But sometimes just hearing about some situation like that can set up a great jumping off point for a story.

    I'm always interested in what makes people happy and how they handle relationships, what motivates them, what would be hardest to do without -- those kinds of themes, so they're pretty grounded in the real world and various scenarios are not really all that hard to come by. This might be different for a genre like sci fi or fantasy, although even those often have a focus on how interpersonal relationships change given an extreme situation such as isolation or war or something.

    Also, questions about plot always remind me of a conversation I had once with my father when I was a teenager. I don't know how many of you remember or are familiar with Pee Wee Herman -- he was basically this man-child who had a show kind of geared to kids, but he made this absurdist film about his character. I was going to see the movie, and the "plot" was that his bicycle was stolen and he needs to get it back. I explained this to my Dad, who was not too impressed. I had to explain that really the movie was about the character and his interactions.

    This is not the greatest example of this point, but since it is the one that happened to me and I remember, it's what I recall most often. What I'm trying to get across is that the plot/storyline itself isn't what's the most important thing -- it's developing a character or characters and conveying a particular world.
     
  6. Reptile Hazard
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    Reptile Hazard Member

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    Most of my writing comes from dreams. Mind you, I don't write the actual dream, but rather an interpretation of it or more than anything, use the dream as inspiration.
     
  7. DomTheDoxx
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    DomTheDoxx Member

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    Usually ideas just come to me. I seriously have so many ideas for stories in my notes that i don't think i'll ever be able to write them all out into books. Usually i'll imagine situations that i'd like to be in, and form a story outwards from there.
    Example: I wondered what it would be like if i chose one day out of the week to not speak at all, and a certain person only saw me on that day and thought i was mute.
    : I wondered if i'd one day own a tall building - BLAM! Story begins with a kid looking at a building and saying, "One day that will be mine"
    there's the premise, there's the motivation, there's some of his character, etc.

    Anytime you're not doing anything boring, even when you're sick, angry, frustrated, blissfully happy, ANYTHING! Observe yourself and how you act/react to get ideas that you can put in your stories. I recently just had a really bad fever (still recovering from it actually) and i studied my responses and how i felt, coming up with metaphors to describe how i felt internally. There's inspiration all around you every day you just have to learn how to see it.
     
  8. AAvertigo
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    AAvertigo New Member

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    I like to come up with an idea, let it ferment and breath in my mind for a while before committing anything to paper. This way I can get a clearer picture of what I want from the story without fretting over the gritty details.
     
  9. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    I get most of mine out of deep thought or combining two things together. It comes natural for me, really. It's like waking up in the moring for me. That easy.
     
  10. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I'm quoting Cognito in this post to help hammer home the point he has made. There isn't a book that doesn't borrow, or have an idea from another one. It's how YOU write it that matters. Everyone raves about The Hunger Games, and I've read it over and over in the spirit on honesty, but it's a rip of 'The Running Man' by Stephen King with different character and slightly different format. The background of my MC came from an idea I saw in a Star Trek novel in Middle School about a Klingon chess game played with living people as players.

    It's not the idea that matters, it's how YOU write it and your skills as an author.
     
  11. NeedMoreRage
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    NeedMoreRage Member

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    I put on some music, sit down, and just think. I mostly think about stuff I have learned recently, then apply it to certain writing goals I have. Eventually things start clicking and ideas start forming.
     
  12. MissNonscentical
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    MissNonscentical New Member

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    Honestly, I just daydream and it comes out of nowhere. If I start doing something mundane and let my mind just wander off, I get little movies that start playing inside my head and just use those. I'm sure it all comes from somewhere, like stuff I've seen on tv, read about in an article, or people I've met. But it all comes together in my head and just plays itself out for me.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't 'find' them because i never have to go looking for any... they simply 'come to me' from what i see, hear, know, experience, imagin... or, sometimes, even dream...
     
  14. randi.lee
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    randi.lee New Member

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    I do the same. I try and notice everything that's going on around me to the smallest detail. The world provides me with some excellent inspiration!
     
  15. Scott Berman
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    Scott Berman Member

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    I've been going for walks every night in an attempt to get in shape, thinking about serious stuff like "What am I going to do tomorrow?" or "How will I pay my bills?" would be terribly boring and depressing making me not want to walk anymore. So, I just think about the craziest weirdest things possible and that gives me ideas.
     
  16. marktx
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    marktx Contributing Member

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    I start with regular ideas and just keep playing with them until they get better and better.
     
  17. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Usually I'm inspired by other peoples work or dissatisfied with the route other writers have taken their stories. I sit down and
    say this is how I would do it. By the time I've added my own angles , characters, twists and turns, it would take a mind reader to discover
    where the idea orginated from. Voila , my own 'original' idea.
     
  18. Quinn T. Senchel
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    Quinn T. Senchel Member

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    From regular everyday life events, the news, historical events, walking, daydreaming, or from the work of others.
    I often think "What if..." and come up with crazy scenarios and then mold them into stories.
    Some of my ideas will suck, some turn out to be great.
     
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  19. kingzilla
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    kingzilla Senior Member

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    I do agree with the people that have said that there isn't any real original modern novels, I mis-typed. But I meant how do people come up with a unique idea, which could be borrowed, but its unique... just making sure everybody understands that.
     
  20. Wordhacker
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    Wordhacker Contributing Member

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    I sit on my dead blackjack table and stew over ideas.
     
  21. Kenn
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    Kenn Member

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    I tap into a something that happened me. Whether it was a pleasurable or a tragic event I just have to be the mood to write it out. I also listen to music while writing - I am not sure if that is a good idea! But it helps.
     
  22. epicfailpig
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    epicfailpig Member

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    Honestly, I don't have a set way I come across ideas. Heck, I feel like I'm just as likely to discover some amazing story staring at a blank wall as I am jogging in the morning or reading a new book. It's spontaneous, really - which is a bit unfortunate, as I never seem to have a paper and pen handy when I find an idea I like.

    Music is probably where I pool most of my inspiration. I spend way too much time going through my music library, listening to whatever I can get my hands on. I'll try to match up the tempo of the music to an idea; for an upbeat tune, I'll come up with a cheerful scene; for a slower, more melancholic song, a tragic one. Occasionally, I'll attempt to match songs to characters, or to a setting... really, if I get any inkling of an idea, I'll try to put it to music. :)
     
  23. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Most of my ideas come from dreams, but when I write them, they don't turn out right, so I just get my ideas from movies and then write them from my own perspective. I woud sometimes write based off some stories other people write on here but in a new direction. Wouldn't that constitute a copyright infringement?

    Or I would use that movie and turn it into a vampire story, for example.
     

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