Where do our ideas come from?

"Writing on the wood is prohibited."...

“Writing on the wood is prohibited.” DSC07600 (Photo credit: Nicolas Karim)

Quite a while back a fellow ROWer asked our Facebook group where he might find more prompts for short fiction.  He’d been using Chuck Wendig’s TerribleMinds Friday prompts but wanted to expand his focus.  There, of course, are the wonderful photo prompts that several of us use on the Five Minute Getaway, the Three Word Wednesday prompts on Twitter for poets, as well as others…  But it got me thinking.  What others are there?  Hundreds upon hundreds.  So, I’m starting a list (which, of course, will never EVER be complete):

Online, televised and print news sites….  I won’t list any here since we’re bombarded with these cues and all have our own perspectives on what qualifies as news.  But there is so much there to write about.  And yes, writing about something someone else has written about is perfectly valid in my opinion.

And on that vein there is Fanfiction.

Add in the shows we love to watch!  Even shows we don’t love make excellent writing fodder.  If you don’t like the way it was written, write your own story!  Introduce characters into these fictional worlds that stir things up in your own unique way.  (Cavaet Emptor: Fanfiction, while gaining respect in some areas, is likely to remain controversial for a long time to come.  Use with discretion.)

So let’s move back to less known ideas:

The Weekend Theme from View From the Side:  http://viewfromtheside.wordpress.com/category/weekend-theme/

There is (not so much a prompt site, but some creative process discussion and therapy can help inspire you) the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (a redundant name if you ask me, since most writers I know are insecure writers) http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/p/the-insecure-writers-support-group.html  (Do not post links on this page.  You post on your own blog, which means, yes, you need a blog.)

Here’s an idea that I might never have considered save thanks to Brett Myers for posting this link on Facebook…  Yes, weather plays a role in our writing http://www.lifeslittlemysteries.com/2374-salem-witch-trials.html  But are we making the best use of it possible?  In this light, the weather almost acts as a character itself, guiding and altering the behavior and choices of whole communities.

When you think about it– how much do we deal with on a day-to-day basis that we fully take in or pay attention to anymore.

  • For those of us who walk to work, walking is second nature.  Now break that character’s foot (I don’t know how, that’s for you to write in) and write how his commute changes.
  • What about the traveler who loses his luggage and gets held up by the TSA because the person who processed his ticket misspelled his name?
  • Even the most organizationally minded of us (I am definitely not one of those) occasionally have clutter in our homes–what happens when discover something that had been misplaced and it changes our lives?
Swords from the Tenth to the Thirteenth Centuries

Swords from the Tenth to the Thirteenth Centuries (Photo credit: One lucky guy)

And now, a bit late, here’s my Row80 check-in to round this out:

It’s been a good week in general.  I’m sure I could take out a pen and paper and get an exact count of what I’ve written, but the word count is well over my 1,500 min.  I could wish that more involved my WiPs, but it’s been spent more on process.  I’ve given in to the need to deal with a ten year-old…  So, I am officially asking for beta readers for my long quiet novel length WiP Release and am also looking for someone who might be able help me with some cover art.  I will be self-publishing it by the end of the year.  Please feel free to leave me a comment or contact me by email if beta reading a futuristic fantasy novel appeals to you.  If you’d like a sample of the writing style, here’s a post (or two) I wrote last year with small snippets included: Who Would Have Guessed and A Lucky 7 Row

My other goal pieces, the social media, the blogging, the reading…  all of those are going well.  I posted another book review on Goodreads the other day and an in the midst of a few other books.

That’s enough for now.  Time for lunch…  and therein lies a hundred more prompts.

6 responses to “Where do our ideas come from?

  1. Finding inspiration:) all around us as you say – odd things people say/do – snippets read/heard – a ‘what if’ moment (which hits one sudenly in the small of the back and runs a way without the answer!) the list is endless – are you going to keep a page up in cyberspace or in your notebook? the ‘story a day’ has a prompt each day – exciting your book is almost ready – I have only just started reeding fantasy and I am bad on grammer, spelling etc but if you cannot find betas I’ll have a go – havent a clue what a beta does I have to say:) but can read and comment:) all the best for this week


    • You are right; I’d completely forgotten about the little snippets of overheard conversations… How many times have I sat in a cafe and wished I dared just record everything I heard people saying. The list really does go on and on.

      Where I intend to keep the list… I think I will be starting a page to add inspirations to. I’m working gradually toward a blog revamping and I will probably set it up there. Hopefully it will be as useful for others as I’ve found it to be.

      As for a beta reader’s job… Well, I’m kind of winging it as well, since I’ve only done it for a few people myself (though I’m always willing to do it again). From what I was asked to do, it seems a beta reader does not do editing or actual critiquing but mostly points out flaws in plot and characterization, likability of characters, believability of scenarios, etc. Mostly “light editing” duties…. If you are interested, I always appreciate input.


  2. Don’t forget the random images you can find in catalogues and on various stock photo sites! Trying to explain what is happening in the picture can lead to some amazing stories. I also find music pretty inspiring as well.


    • You’re so right, Christina. I forgot all the catalogs I get in the mail. Sometimes imagining what a person who doesn’t know what the products are meant for would do with a turntable can lead to some interesting ideas… Would they try to make pottery? Would they think it was an archaic centrifuge for scientists?

      Okay… those were pretty weak. But the idea was still fun.


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