1. Pyraeus
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    Pyraeus Member

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    Where do you get your ideas from? (Asking how, not to give me any)

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Pyraeus, Apr 23, 2013.

    I've been going over my story for a while now, developing ideas of my own, but I've hit a snag. I find that I see other ideas elsewhere which I would quite like to use - changing them of course and doing them in my own way - but I feel like I should be using mostly my own ideas. Since they are a lot smaller in number compared to the ones I see elsewhere though... Hopefully you can see what I'm getting at.

    Which brings up the title of this thread; how do you get your ideas, and from where? Mainly, do you mostly use those you came up with yourself, or do you take them from other sources and invert/avert them and generally put your own spin on them.
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    My ideas come out of my own head. I'm sure I'm influenced by everything I've ever read, seen, or directly experienced, but I've never knowingly used an idea for fiction I didn't create myself. I don't take my ideas from other sources.
     
  3. Pyraeus
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    Pyraeus Member

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    What is your opinion on taking ideas from other sources? Is it something that could be done in certain situations under certain circumstances, or should you avoid like the plague?
     
  4. John Eff
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    John Eff Member

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    They often come from seeing/hearing something, followed by an, "Ah, but what if....?"

    Like Minstrel, my ideas are my own, but are influenced by life experiences in general.
     
  5. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I look at everything as a possible idea - when I over hear a conversation, I turn it over in my head asking myself can I use this?
    When I see an interesting object at a flea market I imagine it's owner, it's history.

    As for taking ideas from other works - I do this all the time. It's not a big deal, my trick is to work it until it's unrecognizable
    from it's source - or near abouts. The best way I do this is by altering the characters, tweaking their goals.
    And like John Eff said - playing the what if game is an excellent way to twist a current theme.
     
  6. Suffering-is-Beauty
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    Suffering-is-Beauty Member

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    I was having one of those 'I want to kill somebody' days because well people are idiots, so I figured I would. 50,000 words later I'm still trying to kill my mc.
     
  7. Pyraeus
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    Pyraeus Member

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    Thanks for the replies guys.

    @Suffering-is-Beauty, is it weird that I laughed at that?
     
  8. Suffering-is-Beauty
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    Suffering-is-Beauty Member

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    cynical humor is the best humor, but that seriously was how I started working on my last novel.
     
  9. Mal-Madrake
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    Mal-Madrake Member

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    I basically have three venues from which I obtain ideas?

    1. My life-the summary of my experiences, sometimes long bike rides or walks inspire me
    2.History-you would be surprised how many new things spring to mind when reading about the Khwarazim (a really little known nomadic tribe north of the Byzatine empire circa 1000 AD) or other interesting things
    3.Other people's work-not copying it but reacting to it, as in taking it another step further or seeing how a simmilar situation would play out with slightly altered circumstances if you get my gist...
     
  10. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Deja vu.

    I only have one example: First I decided what I wanted to say in my story, then I built a plot around it.
     
  11. Anthelionryu
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    Anthelionryu Member

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    What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9

    Sooo.... just use your own words and make it your own. ;)
     
  12. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I basically second what others've said (find inspiration from all around you: books, movies, people, dreams, ideas, what someone said, music, whatever), but I've noticed drawing from personal experience often produces good results. That being said, it's a good idea to leave the dusty study, go out there, and face the world. I've written all kinds of experiences into my and KaTrian's stories: things experienced on trips around the country or abroad, romantic encounters, parties, even negative stuff like bar fights, injuries, accidents etc. It's easy to stay cooped up in our dream worlds and safe, familiar environments, but sometimes exposing myself to discomfort, daunting challenges, even a little danger and daring are just what I need to get a burst of inspiration. Plus, a good adrenaline rush is probably the second best high there is right after the L-word.
     
  13. Jape
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    Jape New Member

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    Agree with everyone else is past experience. Also though I don't recommend it as a voluntary strategy, my longer bouts of sleeplessness have triggered some of my most interesting and surreal ideas.

    Also, personally I'm a history nut. This doesn't just mean Caesar and the Boston Tea Party and other big things but social histories, first hand accounts from ordinary (and not so ordinary) people. I originally got into reading such stuff for historical stories but when you read people's struggles and everyday problems from 1600 or 1970, it more often than not connects beyond the time barrier. They're also on a intimate level you struggle to find from more contemporary sources. I feel a great way to learn subtle character traits is by reading journal entries and the like which give away quirks the writer might not reveal in a conversation/interview.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    anything/everything i see/hear/read/dream/experience/imagine...
     
  15. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    A quote from Douglas Adams:

     
  16. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    I get my ideas from a lot of different places, old movies that I enjoy watching, old t.v. shows, books that I like to read, relatives, magazines, I even got my most recent idea from my local newspaper.
     
  17. Pyraeus
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    Pyraeus Member

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    These are some great answers. I liked the Douglas Adams quote. Is there anything in particular that you find helps inspire you above others? As in, passing a coffee shop while walking down the street might make you think of some small event happening there, but reading the newspaper might make you come up with a little story arc. Does it really just depend on the person, or is there a sort of common feeling that some things are better for coming up with certain ideas?
     
  18. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    I think a lot of it has to do with the state of mind that you're in. When I've had a busy life (school, friends, family, etc.) it gets harder for me to just let my mind wander and therefore become creative. That's the sort of mind-set that I need to be in, though, for stories to occur in my mind. When I'm in that sort of mind-state, I can draw story ideas (though not necessarily good nes) from just about anything. And have done so in the past.
     
  19. Fivvle
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    Fivvle Contributing Member

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    Ideas come to me in relatively calm and peaceful moments--when I'm driving, for example. I don't live in a big city so driving is rarely stressful and often helpful for my creative side. Besides that, I get my ideas from anything I experience.
     
  20. Sunny1000
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    Sunny1000 Member

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    This might sound cheesy and totally lame, but I get my ideas from my dreams.

    I have extremely VIVID dreams, I remember in one I was beheaded and I could feel all the nerves in my neck where it was severed basically firing off...it was not a pleasant experience :( Interestingly in this dream I allowed myself to be beheaded because I had a theory that if I died in my dream I would die in "real life" buuuut I chickened out in the end and just as I knew I was going to die I woke myself up ^___^;;

    I also have full control of my dreams most of the time, it was a necessity since out of about 7 dreams I would have around 5 that would be nightmares so I can change them quick-smart! Its a pretty nifty trick (controlling dreams) in terms of writing because I've basically seen the movie version of my story in my sleep. Sometimes I'm even lucky and can start dreams off from where I left them! Luckily for me most of my dreams seem to be original too and not amalgamations of movies I've seen or books I've read. Just my messed up brain sorting through who-knows-what.

    So yeah that's where I get ideas from =3 As for how you would do this...I have no idea D:
     
  21. squishytheduck
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    squishytheduck Senior Member

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    Actually, I was going to say the same thing. It makes sense to me, because I feel like when I write, I take bits of real experiences and smoosh them all together to add meat to the skeleton of a story idea. In dreams, you are subconsciously sorting through the events in your life and the remembered plot of your dreams is the narrative your brain comes up with to make sense of the mish-mashed assortment of experiences. In a sense, writing is inverse dreaming, or vice versa.

    I have very vivid dreams too, and sometimes I use details or a plot outline from them as inspiration for a story, but more often than not, I'll actually wake up feeling some strong emotion left over from the dream, and I'll make up a story conveying that same mood, so I don't feel bugged out about it for the rest of the day. Otherwise I wake up with some vivid image or phrase in my head that I just can't let go, and I'll work something out around that.
     
  22. Michael O
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    Michael O Contributing Member

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    Everything is connected

    6 degrees of separation and everything else is almost as close. If you don't know 6 degrees.........google it and you'll see.

    The Panama Canal and air conditioning are related.

    The size of the solid rocket boosters on the Space Shuttle and Roman Chariots are related. I'll tell you this one. Pretty cool.

    Engineers want larger SRB's but the width of rail-roads determined their maximum size.

    Rail-roads were that width because the tools used to make rail-roads made it so.

    The tools originally came from England where they were used to build rail-roads where roads once crossed the country-side.

    Those roads dated back to the days of the Roman Empire where two horses, side-by-side pulled chariots.

    Ruts were formed by the closest distance two horses could pull in tandem.

    Therefore the SRB's size was determined by a couple of horses' asses.

    What if the horses were a larger breed? Would we have have larger SRB's?

    What else would be different......The list goes on

    Everything is connected and that's where ideas come from for me.
     
  23. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    The Void...where everything comes from.
     
  24. Pyraeus
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    Pyraeus Member

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    Excellent answers, they've helped. Sorry for not replying for a bit. Haven't checked back here in a while so I haven't seen the updates; I only came back here when my email sent me an update message.
     
  25. WritingWolf
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    WritingWolf New Member

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    Some of my ideas come from dreams that I've had, others would come from reading books or magazines or even watching TV. Sometimes I would put in experiences from holidays in my writing.
     

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