Getting ideas

One of the questions I’ve always been asked is, how I get my ideas. I wish I could tell exactly how but it’s not really possible to tell how my mind works right? In fact, there are times when I don’t know what it is that has prompted me or provoked me into a writing something. As a writer you’re always on the lookout for something that can be made into a story or a book or even a blog post. I thought about this for quite a bit and then decided to do a Writing Tips post for the blog.

Here are five tips on how I get my ideas and convert them into stories.

image

1. This might sound like a no – brainer but keep your eyes open. As writers we have to be like sponges and absorb things around us. Something somewhere might click. I once spotted a man talking to a woman while I was waiting for my mother to finish instructing her tailor and I was fascinated by their dynamics. They were discussing something important and yet there was an element of sadness to their conversation. I made up a story about them as I continued to observe them. This was a goodbye I thought. The woman was saying to the man that they can’t meet again and the man is convincing her to give them another shot. While I didn’t exactly use this scene directly, it did become the basis of a story in one of my books.

image

2. Truth is stranger than fiction is the often used cliche and it’s true. There are hundreds of weird things happening around the world. It’s up to you to choose one and twist it and make it what you want. I read about a girl who had the sleeping beauty syndrome, and I used it in my time travel trilogy as the possible cause for the protagonist’s condition.

image

3. Get inspired by history. If current events don’t really cut it for you, then go back in time (am I losing the subtle touch in plugging my books?) and look for inspiration there. History is always a rich source of stories and events that you can use as the basis of an idea. The point here is that you need to keep an open mind and think of anything and everything as a possibility for a story.

image

4. Make a list of things you like to write about. Then put two or three together and see if you can weave a story out of it. Sounds too random? Actually it can be fun although I rarely use this method. But it’s even better if you time yourself. Give yourself five minutes to come up with a list of things you like and then do a mix and match. What you’ll get here most likely is the premise of a story. It’s up to you to build it from there into something more viable.

image

5. Sometimes all it takes is a sentence, a look, a description, a word to plant an idea in my head. What you need to do is to not let go of it. Write it down somewhere. Hold onto it. Go back to it every now and then and see what you can do with it.

That’s it from me. Do you have any inputs or feedback on how you get your ideas? Do feel free to share them with me, either here in the comments below or tweet to me at andaleebwajid.