Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Writing Wednesdays - Getting Ideas

I'm hoping to do regular blogs about the writing process - on Wednesdays, hence the name.  It took a little while to pick the best topic to start with.  There were a lot of things I wanted to cover, a lot of steps in the writing process.  Finally though, I realized there was only one obvious answer. 

For the start of a blog about writing, I'd better start with something basic, the very thing I start the writing process with.  I begin with an idea, and I go from there.  So where do my ideas come from?

There are four main start points for my ideas:
* Character
* Plot
* Setting
* Prompt

Character - Generally, when I get a new idea, I wake up with a particular character in my head, or I am inspired by a friend or someone I pass in the street.  The spark of a personality, someone who interests me.  From there, it's just a matter of finding a situation that they'd suit - where do they live, who do they know, what happens to them?

Plot - This happens occassionally, but nowhere near as often as I would like.  I have a plot, or a theme, that I work with - building from that, I develop a plot, and then slot characters into the story.

Setting - A vivid world or setting, be it a fantasy castle, a cyberpunk city, or a busy town.  Once I've got an idea of a world, and the rules that govern it - treatment of different groups, weather systems, economy etc, I start developing both characters and plot to populate it.

Prompt - Looking at anthology themes often gives me a good place to start thinking, for example the Torquere Press open calls

Alternatively, random plot generators online such as this can help spark an idea.(These are useful if you like starting with a plot.  If you prefer starting with a character, try looking up random pictures online, or using online character generators.  A particular favorite of mine is "TheyFight Crime" which is pretty hilarious, and worth taking a look for entertainment value alone.  Similarly, for settings, try looking around - I find pinterest useful.

I hope this explains where I get my ideas, and hope it gives you somewhere to start with writing your own.  Where do you get yours?

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