Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ideas, ideas, ideas

As a writer where do you come up with ideas? If you ask a seasoned writer, they’ll tell you that ideas are in the air.

I've been mulling over ideas now because I'm preparing a proposal for my latest novel. Included in the proposal are several other book ideas.

Ideas are all around you. All you have to do is be observant. If you write fiction, look at the people around you, what quirks make you think, "What if that girl with the blue hair and nose ring was a closet Young Republican . . .?" What about the man in the grocery store, racing with his clunky cart down the aisle as if he's playing chicken with oncoming shoppers? Why is he in such a hurry?

All it takes is a germ of an idea to settle into a writer's brain before they're off and dreaming.

Don’t despair if you see someone else chasing the same idea. No two writers will create the same story, and ideas are not copyrightable. Your execution of an idea is what makes it unique.

And what about non-fiction writers? From where does their inspiration come? The answer is the same, from life.

Be attentive to the people you come into contact with. Ask questions. For example, I once visited a library that had a display of Hopalong Cassidy memorabilia. I contacted the man who owned the display and requested an interview. By focusing on different aspects of his collection and his passion for Hopalong Cassidy lunch boxes and paperback books, I was able to tweak the material and sell the article to two different markets.

What thrills you lately? What annoys you lately? Both of those topics are fodder for an article, short story, or novel. Open your eyes, remove your earphones, breath in the fragrance of the season, and write what you sense.

Where do you find your best ideas?

Oh, and the photo above is taken from my hammock under the maple tree. I hang there often and let my imagination roam.


Bonnie Doran said...

Good post, Megan. I found one novel idea in an elevator after pressing the wrong button. What if the elevator was sentient? What if it knew what floor I wanted without my telling it? What if it witnessed a murder? It's an idea that has its ups and downs.

Megan DiMaria said...

That's an amazing idea, Bonnie!!