1. iz.
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    iz. New Member

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    Ideas - All your own, or not?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by iz., Mar 31, 2011.

    So, I'm curious. Where do you get your ideas for stories from?

    Because, I get my main story ideas by myself, then I lay it out to my best friend and she tells me what she thinks, and gives me any ideas that she thinks would go well with the story. I do the same for her (sometimes, we both like an idea, so we end up writing the story together - our styles are different, but they match, and they usually work well together).

    I know that a lot of people are uncomfortable with sharing their ideas with others at first, or like coming up with everything by themselves, and I'm curious as to what you do. Sometimes, I like my friend's idea better than one of mine, so I change/alter it, or, say, she points out that a name doesn't sound right and suggests a new one.

    So, yeah. Do you suck your own noggin' dry for ideas, or take up others'? :)
     
  2. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I listen to music. Most of my intrumental (no pun intended) scene ideas stem from the tracks I keep in my car, selected specifically for that purpose. And it's a deeply personal experience. Can't have the interference of others.

    I've almost got it down to a science now I think.

    If I have a general concept I need to build on or feel the need to take take my character in a new direction I just press play and the ideas come out of nowhere.

    So yeah they're all from somewhere deep down inside my own mind. I mostly try to write stuff on a grand scale so the guys that produce the music for movie trailers have made great catalysts, ie two steps from hell, X-Ray Dog etc.
     
  3. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    I know this seems weird, and you might think that I'm crazy or something. I normally get my ideas whenever I am talking to myself (where no one is around me) and it seem to work. Whenever I am bored, I would talk about what things are happending in my life. That's not always the method I use to come up with ideas though. Sometimes, I would laugh because of the stupid, hilarious things that I talk about, knowing that it won't come true. Some things that I might think about randomly is that, since I get robbed a lot, I would probably think it is funny, thinking that someone would walk behind me with a gun and shoot my back pockets off my pants without me noticing that my pocket is missing (some stupid things I think about), and then I would probably pretend that someone came to me and hit me so hard that I would wake up and think that I was murdered. (I didn't actually write these strange thoughts in my novel though, it's just dumb thoughts that I talk about to be funny). Hehe. Therefore, I would use that idea as fiction. I was thrilled what kind of ideas really come from my head, and my friends tell me that it has some heart-warming stuff in my book. Sometimes I scare myself when I put these ideas together. I didn't realize that the crazy stuff that I think about whenever I am bored can be written into a story.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    most of my great story ideas are not my own - my main character turning into a falcon came from my favourite 80s cartoon character, the idea to use the Great Skua as the devil came from a documentary on St Kilda, the ending for my third book came from the third series of Torchwood, my favourite main character walked out of a music video into my head, the idea to use fireflies as the blood cells of the universe came from the Owl City song but the JohnBarrowman interpretation of it. Another main character is a composite of the women I grew up with. Even when I called my characters transporting themselves about winking out it had subconsciously come from a My Little Pony movie.

    Some ideas are probably mine but if my plot has a problem I look about ways to say it.
     
  5. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, music works as a great source of inspiration for me too. Other times the ideas just pop up in the head from I don't know where :) But I love it when it happens.
     
  6. MidnightPhoenix
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    MidnightPhoenix Contributing Member

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    I listen to different music, to get me in the mood. I like playing with different ideas in my head constantly and tried to write it down before I forget it. I sometimes go a bit crazy when I am by myself, and I talk to the computer. If anyone saw me, they probably think that I’m going crazy. I think up fight scene and think how the other person would fight back. Sometimes ideas just pop in my head, or even when I’m sleeping I wake up to quickly write down my dream, so I can see if I can work with it. I always keep a notepad every where I go. I do bounced my ideas off my friend, but I feel guilty because at the moment she is in a writers block (for 10 years now) and I feel guilty that I am writing and she is not. I am tried to help her, but I don’t think that I give good advice out. I let my sister, mam read through it and they editor the mistakes, or things that I should alter, I have a look at what they do, I either keep it or alter it.
     
  7. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    I get inspiration from books I read.

    It jumps out from the book. Not a copy of the book, but some subtle thing in the background or sidenote that just says this could be a story.

    One book directly ties to the Centaur in one of Mercedes Lackey books, I started writing about a centaur and her life. (How dare she kill her off!:mad:) Not the centaur in the book, but similar.
     
  8. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I don't actually know where they come from. They're just there, movies running through my head with characters I don't know, but whom I feel compelled to write about. There are so many...
     
  9. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Inspiration I have used for novels and short stories in the last 3 years:

    - from legal conundrums (my mother is a lawyer and I have shamelessly raided her old text books for inheritance wrangles, false arrest stories etc),
    - news and current affairs: 'man inherits worthless bungalow and then finds priceless Bugatti in the garage' or 'Aboriginal bones held in private collections in UK to be returned to ancestral grounds by law',
    - episodes in the life of historical figures like the court painter Elisabeth Vigee Lebrun,
    and
    - my memories of growing up in Malta in the 60s, and of Turkey in the 1980s.

    I fearlessly give my sources knowing no one can put the same spin on this stuff as me ;)
     
  10. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Trish: I don't actually know where they come from. They're just there, movies running through my head with characters I don't know, but whom I feel compelled to write about. There are so many...

    ^Oh, yes, exactly. That's how my ideas come about too. All of the sudden I'm thinking about my story and a new idea pops into my head out of nowhere. I can't say I take ideas from my friends or anything. If I'm stuck, yes, I do ask for suggestions. But other than that -- I think for my own ideas :)
     
  11. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh yes, that happens to me too, ideas coming out of nowhere and wake me up in the middle of the night, or attacking me right before I fall asleep...So then I have to turn the light on again to write it down because usually these are the best ones, but that is why I rarely fall asleep before 2am. :)
     
  12. FictionAddict
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    FictionAddict Senior Member

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    Yeah, my ideas come from everywhere too. From movies, tv shows, cartoons i've seen, from books i've read, from art, drawings, paintings, music... Anything can tingle my imagination with crazy ideas. I choose the ones I like best and mix them together to create something new.
     
  13. NateSean
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    NateSean Active Member

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    Sometimes a very vivid dream will become story material. Other times I'll just get an idea that I can't let go. One of the traits of Asperger's Syndrome is obsessive thinking and it's a trait I relish when it comes to writing a story.
     
  14. Bartleby
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    Bartleby Member

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    I'm in the navy I sit at either my radar console or computer for 12+ hours a day monitoring information flows, I get all my stories from my wandering mind. they keep me entertained.
     
  15. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    They randomly hit me, such as when I'm in the bath, listening to music, walking to school. If I like the idea, my brain stores it somehow (but can never store the french paragraphs I need to revise) and I incorporate it into my story.
    I don't even know where they come from...considering I haven't watched TV in months.
     
  16. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    I see random flashes of something awesome in my head. Might be while I'm in line in the supermarket or as I roll over to sleep. I'll wonder about how to build scenes from these little flashes, how they could be used in a story, or what kind of plot that lead to them. Then I'll forget about them for a while and once I'm writing on something, all these little nuggets of drama reappear in new forms that fit into my current storyline.

    At other times it's what I'm experiencing in the moment. With most things I experience, see or hear, I can't help wondering "How can I use this in a story?" "How could it be altered to fit my current one?" etc.

    Ideas are puzzle pieces. The larger a box you're collecting, the more you'll have available to choose from once laying something down.
     
  17. Gingerbiscuit
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    Gingerbiscuit Senior Member

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    I get my ideas from all over the place. People watching seems to give me my biggest inspiration. Generally though the real idea evolves from my initial thoughts and the evolution process is so long that I can barely remember where it first came from.

    When I'm at work I write collaboratively a LOT. I have strict deadlines to stick to and sometimes the only way to come up with an idea quickly is to bounce them about together. That way you can each improve on the other's suggestions.
    If I'm writing at home, for pleasure I tend to use only my own ideas though. That way when I write something cool I know it's all down to me.
     
  18. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    For me, it varies greatly. My current project, a dystopian novel, first occurred to me several years ago when I was fighting with the senior management of the company I worked for at the time to keep them from outsourcing my department to India. The trends I've seen since then impelled me to go forward with it. A novel I completed a few years ago about a Catholic priest in an inner city parish began as a reaction to something offensive that my pastor said to me one Sunday after Mass. Another novel I wrote about some middle-aged musicians getting back together after many years apart to form a band in part to help one of their former bandmates, who was finally recovering from years of drug addiction, actually came about after I had been somewhat suddenly dismissed from a band I had belonged to for about a year (an old drummer friend of theirs had shown up and had the promise of a few gigs).

    Ideas come from anywhere and everywhere.
     
  19. aimi_aiko
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    aimi_aiko Contributing Member

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    I agree with you Reggie. I find myself talking to myself also when searching for ideas. You're not alone on this one. :)
     
  20. nastyjman
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    nastyjman Contributing Member

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    I get my ideas from other ideas. My mind works like a blender: it takes in ideas, combines these ideas and shreds those ideas, creating a new idea. And the blending is sometimes intentional and sometimes unintentional.
     
  21. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    Most of my ideas are inspired by: what I learn in college (particularly in politics class); from documentaries on the TV; from what I experience when/through socialising; from what I see and overhear during train journeys; and from music. Once I have an idea I'll fiddle with it, mixing it with others, removing stale components and evolving it into something brand new. Then I'll introduce summaries and characters to others and see what sort of response they get - I ask them, "How do you think this story will progress/end?" and hopefully they'll give me an answer I can take something from (and, if I can't, I can eliminate the idea entirely).

    I think taking an idea and running with it is much more effective than just sitting there on your lonesome for hours trying to pull stories out of thin air. They'll be much more interesting in the end too.
     
  22. Cheshare
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    Cheshare New Member

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    tons of places honestly.

    Almost all my books have a root in my real life, even if only a small idea that I twisted around in my head and then let it grow into it's own book.

    but that's just the main plot

    I picture scenes when I watch movies or read books, and let the arcs change with dramatic things if I saw something similar in another story that I liked

    and the emotions and feelings I get when I listen to music, I hear a song and I sort of see a music video playing in my head with my characters.

    so everywhere really, life, music, other storys, I cant go a day with out seeing or hearing something and having it affect my work
     
  23. K.S.A.
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    K.S.A. Member

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    Hmm, the half hour I spend taking a bath is probably my most productive time. Being a theatre actor, I've gotten into the habit of doing monologues, which most sane people would call talking to yourself. My ideas come out of these imagined "conversations".
     
  24. Gnarls
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    Gnarls New Member

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    It's like the ideas just happen to me. I never sit down and try to formulate any plans, I just find myself without realising, thinking about something.

    The only problem being, I don't always remember what the random thought was. Mostly I only remember the fact that I had one. I guess I need a Dictaphone or something. C'est La Vie.
     
  25. Uhtred
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    Uhtred New Member

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    Most of my ideas honestly come from a collaboration about elements of books, movies and real life scenarios, not necessarily the same things/action, but for example when im watching a movies and say the main character decides to sneak past a number of guards.... i think to myself what would have happened if he/she decided to attack them and possibly steal a uniform...and if it sounds plausible and entertaining id make a note of it on a scrap piece of paper.

    These scraps usually come in helpful later on when I get stuck at a junction while writing, as I can open up my 'book of scraps' (its amazing how many can accumulate), and based on what kind of character and the situation, I find a decent idea, then alter it again to fit in with the story....

    This sounds really stupid but it works for me...
     

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