One of the most commonly asked questions that writers are asked is “Where Do You Get Your Ideas?”
Before I answer that, I’m going to digress:
Ideas are the easy part, a lot of the time. Writing stories is harder. A story requires a narrative arc -that’s the fancy term for beginning, middle and end- adequate characterization, and a plot (the resolution of the conflict you’ve created in your story), as well as your idea.
That’s why I always tell budding writers they should write a lot, and write every day. You should write a lot, because that’s how one learns any skill. Musicians, sportsmen, writers – anyone who wants to get better at something, needs to practice. You think a concert pianist just plonks themselves down in front of the piano on the big day? Really?
It’s dangerous of course to be too prescriptive, but I really don’t know anyone who -on a long-term basis- works in a different way.
But like a battery, your brain needs constant recharging as well, in this case through reading other writers -as well as maybe going to the cinema or the theatre, travelling, or just having a change of scene — anything that provides fresh stimuli, but especially other writers. Read beyond your genre wherever possible, because when you absorb other people’s ideas and styles, as inevitably you will, the wider the source you have, the less limited you will appear.
And that, dear reader, in a very roundabout fashion, is where I get my ideas from – from reading a lot of books and internet posts, from walking a lot, and from constant, constant practice.
I’ll be coming back to this at some point in the future.