New Project Time! Now What Do You Write About?

I write in several genres. Yes, some call that novice behavior. I’ll speak to that on another day. What I want to blog about today is “How do you come up with this stuff?” Every project ends sometime and then what do you do? Most writers have a stock pile of ideas waiting for their time, or at least a list of one liners to build from. But, I’m often asked how I come up with such a diverse set of ideas. Writers typically write the genre they read because that’s what they’re most passionate about. I have only child syndrome (over active imagination from years of entertaining myself) and a touch of adult ADD. My mind wanders, jumps, flees – you get it.

New ideas happen all the time.  I jot down things down that catch my attention while I’m thinking of them, like a music video that tells an ah-MAZing story but never wraps it up OMG I HATE that! How many times have I thought…but what now?? Then, Cee Lo’s on and my story is gone. Or, I see the craziest stuff with my own two eyes and I think “that’s be a good story.” You do that too. I know you do. Or I gawk at an over the top person who’d make a great villian (like the guy I saw yelling at his wife in a closing Borders because he HATES standing there and no one READS anymore. I mean, why you think dis place is closin anyway?) *angry eyes* Sometimes, I see random people in costumes at the grocery store. WHY? Truly, Ideas are everywhere – if you aren’t deaf and blind, you know this. Even still if you’re deaf and blind but not in a coma – actually, I think coma patients dream, so not even them – but they can’t really write the story or tell you so you can write it, so fine coma patients are out, but otherwise there ARE ideas and you CAN find them.

In case you’re afraid to leave your house and don’t have radio or television or neighbors or Internet (Liar. You obvs have Net) then brainstorming is a great tool. My advice: Think wildly. You can always reel it in later. Think BIG. Go outside the box. Write all your ideas down then address the one that gets your attention. Don’t be discouraged by the big fat ZERO on your word count. You can do this. Get started and please! Share with me how you pick out a new story idea when you finally hit send on all those submissions and it’s time to start something new.

What’d you do?

11 comments to New Project Time! Now What Do You Write About?

  • I jot down anything and everything that comes to my mind–you never know what it may turn in to! Even if I don’t use that particular idea, when I go back and read over my list of ideas, it might give me another one. By ‘hoarding’ all of these ideas, I’m able to truly find the good stuff, because what I might think is good at the moment i write it down might not be, and what I think is average might have some real potential.

    Thanks for the post!

  • Hmm, random people in costumes at the grocery store…I have done that after a choir performance and I always wondered what the people giving me funny looks were thinking… :)

    I get my ideas anywhere and anywhere. I got one from the name of an obscure servant in a history book, another from a line in a song, or a reference in a fairytale, or that funny feeling you sometimes get when you are housesitting and you walk into the empty room in the strange house and you think someone is there. Inspiration is everywhere.

  • Great post! My process of starting a new story is totally sporadic in that a great idea will emerge while I’m doing everyday things, like sitting at a coffee shop with my friend and an interesting person walks in, or if I overhear a conversation and one sentence just *grabs* me. A whole world starts to create itself in my mind as soon as I hear or see something or someone that makes my mental gears start turning. Sometimes I will jot a word or phrase down so I don’t forget it; other times, the story starts to happen so fully that I let it roll around and grow in my mind before I put it on paper. I don’t really control my new story process– it sort of controls me! I rarely ever sit in front of a blank Word document or piece of paper and wait for an idea to pop up. For me, a new project gets started as soon as I’m out in the world, living, listening, observing, and imagining the “what-ifs” that spring up from simple everyday interactions. And most of the time, real life is more bizarre than any fictional story I could create, so it makes sense to cull inspiration/ideas from the everyday!

  • Jonathon Side

    I’d answer the question, but I’d have to finish something first…

    I do have a list of stories I want to write. Usually it’s a word or phrase that sparks an idea. Sometimes it’s something I read, and I think ‘I can use that concept!’. Not the obvious stuff, more the philosophies, the thoughts.

    Like my current (and ongoing and going and going and sigh) project. I was reading a chapter-by-chapter analysis of the second book in a particular series, and I thought ‘Oh no, I see where this is probably going. Not another one. I’m going to write a book that turns that whole thing on its head!’

    Which, for the record? Is so far not the most exciting way to start a project. There’s no, ‘Oh, I LOVE this awesome character/scene/moment! I MUST WRITE THIS NOW!’. It’s more… I have a goal. I must do this. Must climb this mountain.

  • I guess I’m a novice then. I write whatever strikes my fancy. Mostly sci-fi, fantasy, and post-apocalyptic stuff.

  • This is a great post!! I’d like to do something associated to it on my own blog, if that’s okay with you? Link exchange will be a must!

  • Thanks for all these Ah-Mazing answers! I LUV hearing other wroters talk about their process. Just reading to your answers has inspired me! And PS Jevanael: FOr Sure! I’m glad you liked it! Let me know when your post goes live and I’ll link over to it! Glad I inspired a post!

  • I got one of my favorite ideas from an old sign in an abandoned lot. Most of the sign had been torn or had rotted away, and the only part left said, “Very sharp teeth.” I made an entire alien species around that. ^_^ I write sci-fi or fantasy exclusively. Like you, I have a huge imagination and if I try to write anything “normal”, it gets weird in a big hurry.

  • This is a very good post with good info. I jot down ideas as I have them and then keep them in a file and when I can’t think of something, which is rare, I look in the file. Ideas come from everywhere for me like some of the others who left comments.


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