How do you go about having ideas?

So you want to write? Great. Provided that you have basic language skills and the tools for writing (be it pen and paper or a computer) there is nothing to stop you. You just need ideas, and off you go.


Ideas. Yeah, the kernels of a story, the bits and pieces that makes things happen: a full plot, a character or a situation. Something that intests you and makes you want to tell a story. It doesn’t all have to be brand new – there are only so many stories – but some of it must be.

So, how do you get ideas? Now there’s the rub… In my experience, one idea generates another. The problem is having those first few ideas that get you going. I’m trying to learn how that is done. Thinking seems to be part of it. Not obsessive “I need to have an idea” thinking – that kind doesn’t help at all. Rather the “waht if” kind of thinking.

“What if” thinking can be done anywhere. You’re in a queue waiting to pay for your morning paper. What if, as you were standing there, the cashier got eaten by a monster from beyond? What it your paper went up in flames? What if everyone in the shop fell down, died, turned out to be zombies, started speaking in a language you didn’t know..? Thinking what if when you’re doing something mundane won’t net you an interesting idea every time, but it will every now and again. To date, my most interesting ideas have come from tiny, banal events or observations. Life seeds inspiration.

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