Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

A common question that writers are asked is, “Where do you get your ideas?” Most writers seem to hate the question because they have no clear answer. I can understand that. Sometimes an idea just comes to me, and I’m not quite sure where it came from. But other times, I can trace the source of the idea. I’ll see a great movie or read a great book and get inspired to write something as good. Or I’ll see a bad movie or read a poor book and get inspired to write something better. Or I’ll take one small nugget from a fictional story, or from real life, and expand upon it. But there’s more to it than that. Thinking of ideas requires…well…thinking. Literally devoting time to daydreaming and brainstorming ideas.

Many of my stories have come from me taking my favorite stories and thinking about how I can make something similar yet new and different. For example, I always loved time travel stories, so I tried to think of a new twist on time travel that’s never been done before. I focused time to think about every aspect of time travel, and soon the ideas started to come. What if you can only travel forward in time, instead of backward? What happens years after time machines are invented, and they are popular commercial products? I spent hours, days, weeks, months, years, thinking about the world of my story and wrote everything down. Eventually, I had more ideas that I knew what to do with—some good, some bad. I took the good ones and wrote the story.

So that’s where I get my ideas. My mind. I see something and think to myself, “What if…” But if you don’t take the time to think, the ideas will never come.

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