Ideas And More Ideas

So many people ask me where I get my ideas from to write about. The answer is complicated and simple at the same time. It comes from your imagination, your life experiences, and your dreams.

If you do not have an imagination, give up writing fiction and stick to nonfiction. Writing fiction is all about imagination. If you can’t tell a story, joke without botching the punch line, or don’t have a rhythm…then writing fiction is going to be rough for you. But then, you would not have come here if you didn’t want to be a better writer.

How would you describe pain, if you had never been in pain. The same is true for happiness, sadness, and all the emotions. Job one is experience life. By experiencing life, you grow as a person. You dream, you feel emotions, and that’s what comes across on paper. If you are writing nonfiction a lot of this will not apply to you.

My ideas come from innocent and not so innocent sources. Growing up I’ve lived in some pretty desperate countries. I’ve experienced bombing, shootings, and people otherwise trying to kill me. My father worked in intelligence, my mother was recruited by the pre-CIA. So for me it was only natural to write espionage stories…I lived bits and pieces of it my whole life.

I was out shopping with my grandchildren and they wanted candy. I started looking at the names of the candy…BOOM! A children’s story with candy as characters. With names like mr. Goodbar, Whatchacallit, Baby Ruth, Reeses Pieces…who could resist?

Sometimes, you write a writing exercise and the character just won’t shut up. They have a story to tell. They keep chatting away until you get tired of hearing their voices in your head…so you keep writing. I love when that happens. I guess you could call me lucky. I’ve lived a full life fulfilling my goals, dreams and desires in the name of experience. Even when Murphy’s Law hits, it’s grist for the writing mill. I never know when that experience will come in handy.

I mentioned dreams. Yes, those run of the mill dreams. Have you ever had a dream so twisted and vivid that it woke you up? What did you do? Did you grab your pen and pad, by the bed and jot it down? Or did you just roll over and go back to sleep? I always keep a pad by my bed. In several cases, the answer to dialog or scenes I struggled over while awake solved themselves in my dreams. Open you mind. Keep your eyes open and let the juices flow. And above all…Write On!