How'd you come up with that?

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
Down the well
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Re: How'd you come up with that?

Post by Down the well » July 14th, 2010, 7:26 pm

One of the Mad Ones wrote:The novel I just "finished" writing came from a smattering of these, but the two items that prompted me to start writing it were a letter written to an aborted child that I found in a second-hand bookstore (in Turn of the Screw) and a line I woke up thinking: "There was always a wall between us." I made the wall literal and went from there.
I LOVE when I go to the library or a used bookstore and find something tucked away and forgotten in a book. The older the better. Sometimes it's as simple as a movie ticket stub, but I'll start thinking about the person who left it there, what they were doing that day. I plead writer.
AnimaDictio wrote:. I read the Bible. That book has some of the most amazing plots. I steal liberally.
I steal from history. All the battle scenes in my novel are based on the Battle of Hastings and Agincourt.

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Re: How'd you come up with that?

Post by arbraun » July 17th, 2010, 10:08 pm

I usually let an idea come to me because, if I force myself to write something, it doesn't blow me away and probably won't blow anyone else away either. Every once in a great while I'll take advantage of a prompt and come away satisfied, but most of the time I'll wait for an idea that's hard-hitting enough.

Jen P
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Joined: December 6th, 2009, 3:13 pm

Re: How'd you come up with that?

Post by Jen P » July 18th, 2010, 6:31 pm

Today's BBC Radio 4 programme ( included a discussion with two authors on this subject: Richard Russo on his inspiration and ideas, and Nicholas Shakespeare who talked about the trigger for his latest book - a conversion with a writing friend - a TRUE story he had picked up in a legal office whilst researching another story. A young man attended a funeral, showed up late, and was later informed he had inherited 17 million dollars as a result. The will of the deceased had said that his money should be shared out between those who attended his funeral. The twist? He was in the wrong chapel and at the wrong funeral.

I have ideas all the time. Accidentally overheard mobile phone conversations, stories on the news, features on the radio. Ideas are easy. I find the tricky part is capturing the fleeting idea and nurturing it to develop into a fully fledged story which can last the pace of a novel and then getting it on paper.

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Re: How'd you come up with that?

Post by bronwyn1 » July 18th, 2010, 8:30 pm

For me, it's always been (haha even when I was like 12 years old) that I get really interested in certain historical (either true historical or more modern historical) times and places and events. And from there, I craft characters and I craft my story.

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Re: How'd you come up with that?

Post by KTKoulos » July 18th, 2010, 8:35 pm

All my stories come to me differently. One time I was listening to a song by Avril Lavigne and laying on my bed, and all of a sudden I thought, "what if there was a goth girl who was 13 and an annoying grandma who tried to make her be preppy?" and then the story grew into something I sometimes am amazed that I created. Oh, and the girl is no longer 13. She's a rather annoying 16 year old goth girl.

Other times, I think, 'wouldn't it be cool...' or 'oooh I want to make a character who...' and then the whole story comes. One time, I wrote a scene. I didn't know what it was linked to, I just knew that a girl was running away from something, through a forest. It came to me rather quickly after that, and then I have a huge mountain range of a plot line. (you know those things that look like a mountain that some people use? I sometimes use those. Whenever I look at this one, I bounce and smile widely because it has three different tips. I adore this story so much!)

For me, anything or nothing can trigger an idea in me. I had an idea in the middle of Geography class one year too. And another came to me while helping my friend think of a certain scene. I could see a whole chunk of the story, a whole scene, but the story was NOTHING like hers, in the least bit.

Ideas choose me, not the other way around. I just have to think about the story, organize it in my computer so I have the info, and then work on it until I can't think of anything else for it. Then I save it all and close down or go back and work on something else. The HARDEST part for me is looking at an idea and telling myself to finish writing my current book. I have started or written random bits of probably around 5 stories, maybe more, but I'm trying to finish my current one.

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Matthew MacNish
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Re: How'd you come up with that?

Post by Matthew MacNish » July 19th, 2010, 7:26 am

For me story ideas, from novels to flash fiction, have always been about adapting my own real life experiences. For example, the idea for my WIP novel WARRIOR-MONKS came about when one day when I was thinking to myself.

I had a pretty crazy childhood, especially in my teens, and I ended up getting sent to a reform school in the Idaho panhandle for my junior and senior year of high school. So one day I was just sort of daydreaming, thinking about some of the stuff I had been through, and I was like: "What if that school I went to had been awesome? What if instead of manual labor they had taught us Kung-Fu, Meditation and East Asian Calligraphy?"

Hence a story was born. It helps because the setting is all essentially real, that way I was able to concentrate my creative process on developing characters, and plot.

For shorter works it is often much more simple. Flash fiction especially often comes from a single intense emotion, which then evolves into a micro-story.

Great topic, this one.

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