Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Idea

I often wonder how authors came up with great ideas. I mean, how did JK Rowling imagine the magical world of Harry Potter and how did Suzanne Collins come up with the concept for The Hunger Games? (If you haven't read it you are missing out--get to the bookstore!) When I read a un-put-downable new book my first thought is always, "How did they come up with that idea."

When I first started writing I didn't have very good ideas.

Then one day, during a very bad windstorm last winter, our lamppost blew over. My husband was anxious to fix it, so he went off to Home Depot, bought a new post, came home, and started digging out the old one. He dug a very deep hole in order to remove the old post. It was dark outside by the time he finished it.

I looked out the window at my husband digging in the dirt and I remembered that my dad used to tell me stories about digging tunnels in a vacant lot near his house when he was a kid.

A light bulb flipped on in my brain and I got the basic idea for Underground.

I started writing that night and had the first draft done two months later.

It seems like most of my ideas come out of the blue (when I'm not thinking about trying to come up with ideas :).

How do you come up with story ideas? Can you sit down and brainstorm and or do they come when you least expect it?


Lazy Writer said...

I think mine come to me quite randomly. My post today is about how I get a lot of great ideas when I'm exercising. But I also get them when I'm driving down the road, or in the shower, or doing dishes, etc.

MeganRebekah said...

They definitely come out of nowhere. I can't force them.
My latest one came while watching a clorox commercial. It's not a full story idea, more a funny concept to add into a story.

Jody Hedlund said...

Wow, what a cool story idea!! And how awesome that it came from out of nowhere! Mine actually come from much of the research that I do. Since I write historicals, I love finding threads of things that really happened and then twisting them into my own story!

Terri Tiffany said...

First, I loved your Christmas story:) and Second, I love how you figured out your storyline! I seem to use real life events and wish my mind was more creative when it comes to fiction. I always try to play it safe too and figure it will be if I have lived part of it. Someday I would like to just let it go and write fiction like I did when I was younger!

Patti said...

I found the idea for my book from doing family history. I was reading an account of their lives and the mentioned a legend in Iceland about the hidden people. So after some research I came up with a story line and plot.

I also love tunnels and caves and probably use them too much in my books.

Marie Devers said...

I get so many ideas every day! My problem is figuring out which one to focus on. And sticking with it. Whenever I struggle to write, those other ideas start looking better and better.

My approach is to surround myself with good stories: books, movies, artwork, even conversations with people who engage me. When something strikes me deep inside with some sort of realization, I know I have an idea worth holding onto.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I love your lamppost inspiration and how quickly you fleshed it into a story. My ideas come from anywhere and everywhere--dreams, observing people, reading, family stories. There are so many jumping-off places, it makes it exciting.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

One lonely night baking xmas cookies and listening to Ella Fitzgerald songs. Along came Maryah and her story. I didn't even know what her name was at that point. But she had me at "what the?" ;)

Vonna said...

Mostly from dreams and listening to kids play. They say the darnedest things...I have lightning in my fingers; I can hear what animals think, etc.