Where Do Writers Get Their Ideas?

by Ayaka, @Aya_kat_ on 08.05.2009

in writing

I guess every writer ever in the history of ever has been asked this question: where do you get your ideas from? And I’d say there are a dozen dozen (this sounds weird, I mean like 1212=8916100448256, okay?) answers for each individual writer. So I’m just going to talk about how I’ve been struck with inspiration.

The biggest place ideas come from are my dreams.

No, really.Nearly every story I have has started out as a dream, or two or three dreams pieced together. Click To Tweet And then they grow and change and turn into something completely different, but they start in my sleep. And they’re not dreams, like how you’re still in grade school, and you just realized that you don’t have your shirt on, but that’s not the embarrassing part. The embarrassing part is that you’re the only one who went topless. These are more like participating in a movie. I’m in the dream, but I’m someone else, with a different life, and I experience it and feel it and see it and smell it. It’s like my subconscious sends it up to me. Remember on Laverne and Shirley, how they had that tube device–after they moved to California–and they could send notes up to management? It’s like that. But my subconscious has never had to break in and try to get one back. That I’m aware of.

Life, baby.

Sometimes I hear or see slices of someone’s life, and it just sparks something. What if this and then what if that, and the next thing I know, there’s a whole other thing going on that bears little resemblance to the original. Starring very attractive people.

Books.

Dude, calm down. I’m not a plagiarizer. If that’s a word. Or someone who commits plagiarism. I’d rather eat worms. But sometimes a story just sparks an emotion within me or a character stays with me, long after the story is over. Once the imagination starts toying with it, a la cat and mouse, it becomes–hopefully–something awesome.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got. The reason writers never answer these questions is because we don’t really think about it. They’re just there, in our heads. Clamoring for attention, demanding to be written and acted upon and nurtured. Writing rocks. Hard.

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