I don’t know if it’s because I’ve always had a writer’s mindset (even though I didn’t start really writing until a few years ago) but the one question I’ve never really considered asking an author is “Where do you get your ideas?”
It always just seemed like such a pointless thing to ask. A writer’s ideas come from the same place as a doctor’s. Or a plumber’s. Or an investor’s. They come from the same place that produces the imaginary “bad guys” my kids have sword fights with. From your head. From your imagination.
Besides, “where” someone gets his ideas doesn’t matter. It’s what he does with the ideas that matters.
Ideas of every sort come when you sit around and fantasy. Fantasizing might not seem like brainstorming for ideas, but that’s really what is.
Playing the “what if” game, if you will. But what separates a writer’s fantasies from anyone else’s is that the writer then needs to take that fantasy and create a world around it. And fill that world up with characters. But perhaps even more important than that, a writer needs to create a plot around it. A story, after all, is so much more than a world with characters.
I’ve always thought that anyone can write fiction. And do it well. It only takes practice. Read a lot and write a lot. And think a lot. That’s where writers really get their ideas.
The bad ideas are quickly forgotten. It’s the good ideas stick around. They’re the ones that people keep asking where they came from.
So now I think I figured something out. Next time someone asks, “Where do you get your ideas?” the best way to answer is “By process of elimination.”
What about you? As a writer, where do you get your ideas? Leave a comment and let us know!