Monday, October 4, 2010

Get the idea?

If you have been following me for a while, you probably know where I get my ideas. But lately, I started to open my eyes and see other ways to "get the idea."

The majority of my ideas come from music. A lot of you know this and I thank god that some of you work this way because I really thought I might have to be committed at some point. Certain songs can hit me just the right way and I see my characters in action like a movie trailer. This is why most of my ideas and stories develop a soundtrack. See the one over there in my sidebar. That's for my baby, WiP#1. The song that started it all --"Panic Switch" by Silversun Pickups. Blame them for all my madness. Each song on my soundtrack has helped me create many chapters in this story. If you read a chapter, I could name a song that would go with it. See you know this already because I have posted about it before. 

So what are the other ways to get ideas--

--Another way is to add a character to your favorite TV show or movie. I have done this so many times, it's ridiculous. I added a character to the TV show "Angel." It developed into two journals worth of stories but it has also helped me learn how to write characters. I'm not saying I'm totally awesome at writing characters, it just helped.  

--Dreams. I alway thought this would never happen to me, but WiP#4 is from a dream. Yes, I said WiP #4. It's just in scribble notes now but it should be interesting later.

--Out of nowhere. Yes, I have had this too. WiP#3 just popped in. I now have a soundtrack developing for this one but the idea caught me off guard.

--Eavesdropping/people watching. I'm known to people watch. I admit it. People are interesting. I sometimes try and pick a person and make up where they are going or who they are. It's a fun little exercise.

For example--On the south end of my town there is a university. While sitting at a stop light one day, a student crossed infront of me. He was dressed like most college students--jeans hanging low, some sort of graphic T-shirt, baseball hat tilted to the side but what caught my eye was what he was carrying his books in. It wasn't a typical backpack or messenger bag. It was a beat up soft leather briefcase. Now of course I don't know the real reason, but here is what ran through my head. What if it was his grandfather's whom he loved dearly, but couldn't let go after he died. He goes to class where a young girl sits across from him and notices it. She wonders. Then some bully kid tries to steal because as it turns out the guy (who owns the briefcase) is super smart and he hates him. Girl falls for him... blah blah blah. See what happens.

Eavesdropping--First of all, don't invade peoples privacy but if they are blabbering for the whole world to hear then listen.  

 For example--I'm waiting for my daughter at swim class. While I try to keep my son from dashing into the water, I overhear a lady's conversation. She wasn't too private about it.
She is on her cell phone responding to an invitation for a wedding. Now, I don't know her relationship with the other person nor do I know what their response is but I found it strange and interesting. She told this person she would be at her wedding but she wasn't sure if she would be at the ceremony or if she would just leave the reception early. The reason is she had another family event to go to and it was important. She said, "I don't want you think I'm getting back at you because you were late to my wedding."

Interesting --right? A whole character can be developed from this.

Look around you--If I put my mind to it, I could write a story about the day in the life of my cat. I have to pinpoint her personality and write away. Actually, the hubs already dubbed her personality as Cartman from South Park and he even does the voice, which is hilarious.

The point is --I'm learning to open my eyes. My usual method of music still works but there are other ways  to get ideas.  This can also help if you are stuck on your MS. Sure there will be times when trying to come up with an idea is like trying to find a clear Lego in a high pile carpet, but just look around something just might spark.

How do you come up with your ideas?

How was your weekend?

Sorry for the super long post. I'm a blabber mouth this morning. Have a great day!


  1. I'm one (don't hate me for this!) who can't listen to music while writing. I've got to have quiet, as much as possible.

    But I do the people-watching, and the listening. My premises have come from dreams, too, but mostly it's just being aware of the life around me. So much is ready if you're open and willing.

    Great post!

  2. Love this post! STOLEN totally came out of a dream, another WIP came from watching tv, another from reading another book and remembering one of my own experiences and then others have come out of nowhere. Music doesn't give me ideas for entire WIPS but music totally inspires my scenes and sometimes inspires and controls my plot.

  3. Hey, our blogs are similar today :) Obviously, a lot of my stuff comes from songs. I tend to dream the premise then scenes write themselves as I listen to certain songs (exactly how you describe - like a movie trailer, I never would have been able to find that comparison, but it's awesome!)

    All of my chapters are related to at least one song, usually more. (For my current WiP, I wrote an entire soundtrack of songs to go along with it - from the male MC's pov since he's a singer/songrwriter.) And, even when I'm reading other people's books, a soundtrack often pops into my head.

    Love Silverspun Pickups!

  4. It's cool to hear your progress. Eavesdropping and music are essential to a writer!

    I love Silversun Pickups too.

  5. Haha...Cartman cat. I can so picture that too--not your cat, of course, but cats I've known. Actually, my in-laws' cat fits perfectly. Evan has Cartman's voice impression pretty spot-on too. :D

    A lot of my ideas come to me in a dream, but usually I just get a random "what if?" in my head and go from there.

  6. I do a lot of What If .... scenarios. I also put myself in a different occupation, then think of movies based on that job. I would like to be a tour guide at a major world class musuem. Then I think of Night at the Museum, The Thomas Crown Affair, Angels and Demons, and other movies and books with musuems in them. Now my brain is thinking of new What If ... scenarios.

    Stephen Tremp

  7. Sometimes I take an idea or something that happened to someone and totally exaggerate it.
    Once I got an idea from a newspaper article too. I haven't done anything with it yet, but I have it saved in a file. :)

  8. It depends on what ego my muse is riding that day and lovely blog. Came via Talli's blog :)

  9. Lots of ways to create our characters and stories! I use music to inspire, as well as TV and film.

  10. I get my ideas from everywhere, kind of like you. But what surprises me the most is when they just pop into my head. That's always exciting!

  11. hi miss christine! this is a really cool post. i like how you get lots of ideas out of music. i get them from lots of places but mostly for me ideas just go whamo and smack me inside my head. i do lots of day dreaming and night dreaming too and i get lots of ideas out of that. one time i got a whole story cause i got dreaming a chapter every night til it got to the end. mostly i dont like going to bed but then i couldnt hardly wait so i could know whats gonna happen next. i didnt have that happen but only one time.
    ...hugs from lenny

  12. My weekend was nice :) I come up with ideas from everything around me I think. There were some serious clouds the other day that sparked a new idea. I really want to start writing it, but I feel like I need to get my current WiP finished first. Hopefully, I can start within the new year.

  13. I love eavesdropping. Because I'm nosy. : ) But my ideas come at me when I least expect 'em. I never know where I'll pull inspiration from!

  14. I love the idea bucket that I have sitting next to my bed, each morning I drop the ideas in there and save them for later. My dreams bring me the best stories, thats where most of my ideas come from, other than that they come from things I love... such as Greek Mythology and normally I just think of who I would have wanted to be during that time and write that way! Brilliant post!

  15. great post as always, Dear Christine.
    I often write about children, YA-ish. Therefore, I go to the source, and watch kids in action. While at my son's school, football games, while arguing with their mother's at the mall...wherever the drama lies.
    Then I think of what I saw while mowing the lawn or walking the dogs, and an idea forms:)