Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

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I get story ideas everywhere, all the time.

Doesn’t everyone? Don’t all writers? Please tell me I’m not an oddball!

(Recently we discussed Successful Authors and how ofen they admit they don’t know what they’re dong, HERE.)

I get ‘em all the time.

Ideas… If they are interesting enough, I do a quick talk-to-text and send it to me computer. That’s round one. The next day, I look at them to see if they’re still interesting. I see if the email actually contained anything that could be a compelling story. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. If it isn’t for sure still interesting a day later, DELETE.

Sometimes an idea is interesting enough to flesh out but not be its own story. That can become a cool back story or motivation for a minor character in a bigger story.

Ooh, THAT's a good idea.... and that... and that...
Ooh, THAT’s a good idea…. and that… and that…

The ones that are truly interesting get a few lines written and go into a file in my computer called “Story Ideas.” When I am struggling or bored or whatever, I sift through the file and see what’s there. I have about a dozen stories that I think would be good books. (I think most honest writers would admit to that, too, having a dozen ideas they want to work on.) Most of the ideas in my file will eventually be made.

However…

That may have happened here...
That may have happened here…

If I start writing the few lines to flesh it out and I look up and see I’m 3000 words in and it’s 2 am, I might just have a story. Check the clock again and it’s four months later and the first draft is done.

Yep, it was a story all right.

Strike while the iron is hot is fine – as long as you’re disciplined enough to get back to what you were working on. Most writers aren’t. They’ll start 12 stories and finish none. That’s not the way to go. Other writers polish and rewrite one story forever – also bad.

There’s a happy medium.

STRESS
STRESS

Right now, I’m technically writing four stories at once. That can’t end well, but one will consume me for a while, engulfing my thoughts as I shower and run and mow the lawn and drive to work, and that one’s gotta get written. Somebody, somewhere, is dying to read it (okay, it’s me), and there are so many facets of the story piling up – like unanswered questions and subplots – I can’t keep putting them off!

So I’m writing about a Water Castle instead of something else. It’ll all work out. I don’t know how, but it always does.

Where do YOUR great ideas come from?

And HOW do you manage the process?

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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi” – yeah, we know. We’re trying to convince him to change that title – check out his other works here http://www.amazon.com/Dan-Alatorre/e/B00EUX7HEU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1425128559&sr=1-1 and check back often for interesting stuff.

12 thoughts on “Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

  1. I get my ideas the same way! Just all the time, all day. I usually just type em up into a note on my notepad thing on my phone and then later on check them out. I tend to keep all ideas, even if they don’t immediately spark something just because they may later (and have).
    I’m working on three things right now haha … when I get uninspired by one, I just move along to the next one. One’s in the final edit, one’s almost done, and one’s just beginning.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I must have low Writerly RAM. Hehe. I can’t focus on more than two stories at the time: the one I’m writing and then one I’ll write.

    Any ideas I get are so vague they have to percolate in my brain for a week until I can safely say the idea has all the necessary elements for a story. Until then I don’t write a word.

    Good luck with all your four stories! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If I was smart, I’d limit it to one or two at a time. That way they’d get done.

    The percolation thing – absolutely. I’ve gone into a folder of percolating ides and discovered I thought up three different back stories for one character, or four different endings for the same story. The best part of that is I can pick the best one and run with it.

    Like

  4. My ideas usually hit me at the strangest moments too, and I also talk-to-text messages to myself before they slip away. I have about four new stories waiting in a file… now if I could only finish the first one, I might actually get to dig into them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It starts with one!

      We took our daughter to see Shaun The Sheep (a movie) and during that I had this great idea about handcuffs and a taser for a story I’m doing. Thought up some funny stuff to do with it, too. So I was typing myself an email on my phone during the middle of the movie – and no, there was nothing on the screen to make me think of handcuffs and tasers!

      Liked by 1 person

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