I have a confession to make – I’m not an ideas person. I’m not one of these super-creative people who have ‘light bulb moments’ when an innovative idea comes to mind out of the blue and fills me with inspiration and passion. That’s why I don’t writing science fiction – I don’t have any idea what the future will look like until someone tells me.
So when someone asked me ‘how do you get ideas’, I had to really think. The answer for me is that over time, I get a small collection of things I’m interested in, and then when I need an idea, I sit down and play around something off that list. This is why a notebook is important. Because it’s hard for me to come up with ideas, I need to note where I’ve had an interesting thought and then I can maybe use my knowledge of the writing craft to drag an idea out of it.
Examples of where I get these ‘pre-ideas’ from are:
- a place I’ve been to
- emotional intrigues in something I’ve read in a newspaper or seen on the news
- interesting jobs or settings from history I’m reading about
Anyhow, you get the picture. Then I sit down and work out what characters in these scenarios might be like, what fantasy setting I can apply to it and what kind of conflict might happen in it.
Alas, no light bulb goes off and sometimes it can take ages to pull it all out. Perhaps that’s why I write fantasy, so I only have to go through this idea generation thing every 3 books (provided one sells!).
If anyone else has ideas of how to get ideas, would love to hear about them.