Ideas. Where do they come from? You’ve got me.
Honestly, I have no idea how my mind works. The things my mind decides to retain versus what it doesn’t…I don’t know why. So how could I possibly explain why a line of dialogue or a simple word might instigate an entire thought process that leads me to a new story idea? I make notes whenever something intrigues me (I’m very fond of the note app on my phone), and I’ve been much better about this as time has gone on because as stated above, I’m not sure I’ll remember it later. I usually don’t. Then I become frustrated that I let it slip away. So I’m always a little surprised when I hear a writer wonder what they should write about. Isn’t stockpiling a part of a writers bag of tricks?
But on the flip side…I became baffled by some of the things I’ve read about writers doing, such as “idea sessions” where they come up with fifty ideas and then narrow down to a few that seem viable, or hearing about writers that have written upwards of twenty-five scripts. Then while floating around the internet, I came across Frank L. Baum’s Wiki page, creator of The Wizard of Oz, and discovered what he had done. Take a quick look at his bibliography, and be forewarned of the feelings of inadequacy that will follow. When I figured out my portfolio, I was happy that I had eight solid ideas for full-length screenplays with a couple more brewing, but after seeing what some other writers have accomplished…huh, talk about feeling inept.
I keep a notebook with snippets of ideas, lines of dialogue, what-have-you, but even contained within those pages I can’t imagine I have fifty ideas or twenty-five scripts. I could not write fifteen books based on one idea. I was thrilled when one of my ideas kept growing and I realized I could write a trilogy and create an entire franchise, but that’s still only three story ideas. I’ve made a note to myself to seek out idea generator type information, thinking maybe I need help in this area, and saw this article from the aptly named Bitch. Procrastinate. Write. entitled Got no writing ideas? Here’s 11 reasons why.
Then I saw somewhere that a writer’s favorite question is:
So there’s a starting point. And another reason I share the writing prompt images. “If I can help just one writer…”
I’d be interested in getting some feedback on how you all generate ideas, and if I’m alone in feeling this.
Good luck everyone!