1. Psychopath toaster
    Offline

    Psychopath toaster New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2009
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0

    Story ideas: How often do you get them, and where?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Psychopath toaster, Oct 7, 2009.

    Hello,

    I was just wondering, how often you get ideas for stories?

    I get several new ones daily, all the time, by seeing people do stuff, or through other thoughts. Recently, Ive even been getting great ideas from dreams (one was a nightmare that gave me a fantastic plot for a horror story :) ).

    How about you? How often, and how, do you get ideas? Do they just come to you, or do you have to think really hard to get somewhere?

    And when you do, do you get to work right away? I'm finding it rather hard to do so, and if I do, I just abandon pretty quickly when I get a new "fantastic" idea :)
     
  2. luckyprophet
    Offline

    luckyprophet Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    I'd like to be nearby Jupiterian
    Maybe I only had one bright idea, in my life -- I'm exagerating, but ... --, and I wrote it, then I destroyed it, then I wrote it again, several years later.

    -x-

    Now, well, ideas, yea' they happen a lot. I got many ideas from work environments & jobs ... From church. From friends' lives.

    If I ever got an idea from a dream, I'd have to write, at least, some sort of script, with topics, or whatever, because I forget very soon -- whenever I keep any of -- whatever I dream. I don't know how it is with you but, if you can't control this part of memory (like me), even if you don't plunge into it, at least write something so that you won't loose the idea.

    I have a friend who has LOTS of ideas from his dreams, as well as during the way home-work, work-home. He writes in the transport (either train or bus ...).

    I can only actually write at home, in a e-notebook. I make a lot of notes on paper, though, lists of names and plots schemes, mainly. Usually I don't follow the plot schemes I draft ...

    P~
     
  3. roseberryse
    Offline

    roseberryse Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I find that my best ideas come when I'm not trying to think of them. When I sit down and make myself to think about a plot line or situation, it comes out forced on the page. When I think of something randomly, it tends to make for a better story. I don't get them everday, not even close. I'm lucky to get a new one once a week. But I do get ideas that add to my current project at least daily.
     
  4. psyence53
    Offline

    psyence53 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2009
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Within The Confines Of My Mind
    What ideas? What stories?
     
  5. Mark R
    Offline

    Mark R Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2009
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Darlington, UK

    I'm similar. I can be stuck thinking about my plot and get nowhere, then as soon as i think about something else a solution just pops into my head.

    New plots don't come along too often for me, but I think that's because once I get an idea, I try to work it into what I'm currently writing instead of leaving it for a future story.
     
  6. TWErvin2
    Offline

    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,528
    Likes Received:
    561
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    I get a lot of ideas for stories, but not all of them are good enough to become a story. I have had enough that I have a backlog of files (notes) that will keep me busy for quite some time should I never get another good enough idea.

    Terry
     
  7. arron89
    Offline

    arron89 Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Messages:
    2,460
    Likes Received:
    91
    Location:
    Auckland
    Maybe once every few weeks. I mean for decent, semi-developed stories. I constantly get fragments of "wow that would be a cool scene" or "what if..." but the usually disintegrate if i think about them too much. But yeah, every few weeks I guess all those dissolved fragments suddenly crystallise into a decent story concept that I can actually work with.

    The writing, on the other hand....not so much.....
     
  8. Rei
    Offline

    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    7,869
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Kingston
    I very rarely get one that I can actually use.
     
  9. kryoung1983
    Offline

    kryoung1983 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    I find that I will have a idea, or series of ideas but its all too ambiguous. I also have to do something like take a walk, or read and that will help to get my creative mind going. I find that at first I have to free write so that i can flesh out an idea to see how good it is.
     
  10. bruce
    Offline

    bruce Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've set a goal to create one new story idea a day. I brainstorm for it. It is very easy to get new ideas. Usually I'd get more than one idea and I'll write them down in my notebook. At this point I don't think about whether the ideas are good or bad. I leave that for later when I want to develop the ideas into stories.

    By the way, I also have a goal to create one new character a day.

    Cheers, :cool:
    Bruce
     
  11. Banzai
    Offline

    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Messages:
    12,871
    Likes Received:
    150
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    Ideas come to be every so often. I keep a notebook in my pocket, where I write them down, and when I'm in the mood to write I have a flick through. A lot of my ideas seem to come from stories in newspapers, etc.
     
  12. Kirvee
    Offline

    Kirvee Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Messages:
    232
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Michigan
    I think my brain is currently on a break since I still have my storage of 7+ novel ideas that came between the ages of 12 and 16.

    However, ideas come to me from everywhere. Sometimes I might get ideas from the various places I visit when I sleep, sometimes my thoughts will spiral into a philosophical tangent that I then suddenly think "Hey, that'd be a good idea for a novel!" Other times I might get an idea from just simply looking at something.

    Like when I was 12/13, I got an idea for an Inuyasha fanfiction all because I stared at a sky blue bouncy ball. Seriously, I did.

    Sometimes I might also think of a character that then inspires a story idea, or a song might inspire a story like many of my earlier fanfics or a short story I have yet to actually write.
     
  13. S-wo
    Offline

    S-wo Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    337
    Likes Received:
    7
    I get an idea for a story or an expanding idea an old one at least three times a month.Don't always go with them though and eventually forget about them.
     
  14. AmandaC
    Offline

    AmandaC Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    All the time. Sometimes something I dreamed about intrigues me or something someone says gets the brain juices flowing. Sometimes its a whole story and sometimes its just an image or a character.

    Problem is I reject at least half of these ideas.
     
  15. SilverWolf0101
    Offline

    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    Messages:
    333
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    New York State
    Really, I get a new idea about once a month, if not more depending on my moods.
    Most of my ideas however comes from things I observe, or general interests. I do have a story or two that I started because of a dream, but I forgot most of the details about that story once I woke up so they kinda found a corner to collect dust in until I can figure out what I want to do with them.
    As for whether I work on them right away or not, not really. I found it helpful to write the basic idea down on a piece of paper, or in a little composition book then go back later and see what can be done with that idea. In fact, I have a small notebook that's brimming with ideas, that pages are actually falling out because of how many times I've taken a pen to it. ><
     
  16. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    your question is aimed at only fiction writers, but i'll answer it from the perspective of a writer of pretty much anything that takes words...

    for most seasoned writers [including this one] ideas usually appear on their own... out of the blue... at any time of the day or night, and from any and every source imaginable...

    when assigned something in particular, by an advertising client, or magazine/newspaper editor, or when under pressure from an agent, to turn out something new, there may be times when we have to sit there and try to think up something, but those of us who've been at it for a good length of time will have a file of 'random ideas' we can look through, to find something workable...
     
  17. ManhattanMss
    Offline

    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Messages:
    626
    Likes Received:
    14
    The only ideas I get for writing a piece I would then sit down to write are various kinds of nonfiction pieces. I don't think I've ever gotten an idea for a piece of fiction other than from the process of writing itself. Even the process of writing a nonficton piece usually generates the key idea of how to tie it all together. I found that was true even writing papers in college. The closest I come to keeping a stash of ideas for fictional stories is the old stories I've already written, one or another of which will sometimes draw me back in for more--usually as I'm about to send them out the door to search for a home somewhere else. I have some envy for writers who get the idea first and then write it. But typically, I find "old" ideas way too limiting for my imagination to work. It muffles the delight of creating something that feels new and fresh and inspiring (to me, I mean).
     
  18. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    I get two or three ideas a day. Some I discard after turning them over in my head, some I think over for a few days. Some I start writing, enough to gel the idea, before going back to the two novels I'm working on.

    The better ones, I go back to from time to time when I get the inspiration.

    My ideas come from news stories, TV dramas, books I'm reading, things I see while driving around, songs I hear on the radio, and straight out of the blue. I listen to the random thoughts, and latch onto the ones that seem to have potential.
     
  19. Laters
    Offline

    Laters New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    S.F.
    i'm in advertising so my job is to generate ideas, a lot of ideas. though it wasn't until recently that i've tried to turn some of these ideas into a novel.

    outside of that, i've never really sat down to think of an idea for a book but i'm new to the whole writing a book thing.
     
  20. Dreamer85
    Offline

    Dreamer85 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2009
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    I don't ever rush trying to make new ideas because forcing ideas out never comes out well for me. I also need to be sure that my new ideas have a sense of clarity before putting it to paper (or a Word document).

    What I'm also careful of at this stage is not taking on too many projects at once. Perhaps this is another thing to keep in mind. I do have a number of good ideas for different stories but its better for me to concentrate my energy on one project at a time so I can give that one project the justice it deserves.
     
  21. Operaghost
    Offline

    Operaghost Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Messages:
    217
    Likes Received:
    0
    All the time i just don't get time to use them all (in fact i use very few of them and some have been on the potboiler for many years)
     
  22. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    really? ;-)

    i hope you really meant 'back burner'!
     
  23. LastTrainHome
    Offline

    LastTrainHome Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    1
    Hmm :/
    I think I get most of my ideas from personal experiences, music (thats quite a big one), dreams, and things that I see or read, and I get them quite rgeulally - a couple of times a week I guess.
    If Im ever short of an idea, I tend to think of a book plot which I didnt agree with so much and rewirte it how I think it should have happened. New ideas sometimes spark from that.
    The best plot I think I've ever come up with though, I actually haven't got a clue where it came from.

    Sarah
     
  24. Fox Favinger
    Offline

    Fox Favinger Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Messages:
    211
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Inspiration can can come from anywhere for me. Sometimes just a word and how it's said can spark something. I try to right down at least a few words to remember the idea by. Most of them I over think and they turn into novel ideas, so they either build over the years or get put on hold. I just wish I could keep things simple enough for a short story, but occasionally I will get lucky there. I don't have time to be working on six novels, ok maybe I do but they would take forever to get done lol

    Unfortunately I only work off inspiration, so when it's not there I tend to just write random stuff or try and work on my previous notes and work out existing plots.
     
  25. LucyP
    Offline

    LucyP Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2009
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Manchester England
    I have lived in Manchester this last four years and found the move a big help, because I suppose because I'm in a new environment I'm seeing plots and characters everywhere. I have such a passion for the pennines, the Yorkshire Moors and the Peak District. I find a lot of horror story plots flowing from these places. In the towns I find it's characters.
    By contrast, when I lived down south I struggled very hard to get much at all.
     

Share This Page