Thursday, December 9, 2021

Kate's Thoughts and Experiences - Where do you get your ideas?

This question is probably the bane of all writers' existences: where do you get your ideas?  It's asked all the time and is never easy to answer.

For me, ideas can come from anywhere.  Books I read, movies I see, people I talk to, newspaper articles, the list goes on...

For example, my book An Unstill Life was inspired by a newspaper article I read about same-sex couples being prevented from attending their school's leavers' ball.  Stumped was inspired by meeting the subject of a documentary about sex workers and people with disabilities.  The Sidewalk's Regrets came from a different documentary, this time about a musician friend of mine. Chasing the Taillights came from an idea I had for an adult book, but while I was thinking about it and why the two main characters had the relationship they had, I ended up writing Chasing the Taillights to explain it.  The adult book still hasn't been written, BTW...  Just the backstory.

My most recent WIP was inspired by the soundtrack of a musical I heard.  I have a trunked novel I wrote after reading a scathing review of a film and another that came about in response to a challenge to use a specific set of words (vernacular Australian words to be specific).

So I guess what I'm saying is that ideas can come from anywhere.  I tend to have a bunch of pretty well-developed characters hanging about in my head, just waiting for a story they might fit into.  It often takes two ideas colliding to spark the idea for a book and bring two or more of these characters more fully to life.

I feel like ideas are everywhere, just waiting to be plucked, but something has to really capture my imagination to become a book.  Some ideas just aren't big enough to sustain an entire novel, but can be perfect for a short story or novella.  Or as I said earlier, two or more ideas need to collide to fill out the plot of a novel.  Sometimes you just have to start writing to figure out what it's going to be.

If you're struggling for ideas, stop looking for them. Just walk through the world with your eyes and ears open and I can guarantee something will spark your interest, make you ask "why?" or "how?"  Then you can write the book that answers that.

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