Every writer has been asked this. There might be variations (such as the oldie but goodie: where do you get your ideas?) but both writers and readers have all heard or asked it.
Everywhere and anywhere.
Writers are people, too, and we walk by the same neighbors, drive the same cars, and have the same hobbies everyone else does. Ideas abound in every moment in our lives. Anything, at any time, could trigger that mysterious being called the muse.
For me, it's little things. The way a character tilted her head in my favorite T.V. show. A snippet of conversation. Music. A sentence in the book I'm reading. The wind in the trees. A child's laughter. Deep water at night. Even dreams.
The possibilities are endless, literally. They're also different for every writer.
What About You?
If you're a new writer, you might be worried about getting ideas. Don't be. You wanted to write for a reason, probably because you already had an idea in your head. Where did you get it? You might have just experienced a fabulous concert. Maybe you noticed something new on your way to work. Or perhaps the bite mark in your sandwich looked just like a spaceship.
Whatever it was, it wouldn't leave you alone. You had to write it down. Then characters arrived and a setting and you started imagining what would come of it.
That's where the ideas come from: from keeping your eyes and ears open and absorbing the world around you. What are your interests? Your favorite books? Do you remember your dreams? Is there something you've always wanted to do or see but never have?
These all hold true even when dealing with science fiction and fantasy. It doesn't have to be all scientific or fantastic to start out – that's your imagination's job. Your job is to keep looking.
Most importantly, look for ideas where you least expect them. Those ideas can be the best of all.
How To Get Ideas In A Nutshell
- Read! And read some more.
- Collect and hoard ideas like a dragon.
- Look for the unexpected.
- Write about your interests, hobbies, and dreams.
- Write about what you'd like to learn.