Question: Where do you get your ideas from?

Answer 1: I don’t know. They just come to me.

Answer 2: Everywhere.

Neither answer is satisfying, I know, but in most instances they’re pretty accurate.

Most authors, including me, find it nearly impossible to pinpoint the moment an idea hits them because it is usually nothing more than a fleeting thought. As an author with ADD, I’m usually bombarded with many fleeting thoughts at the same time. Therefore, it's hard to figure out when and how I get my ideas. Still, I have noticed a few trends for where I find inspiration.

Books and, to a lesser degree, movies and other forms of fiction, generate the most ideas. It’s not difficult to take a general concept, keep what I like, discard what doesn’t appeal to me, and then make it my own. The train of thought is something like this:

“Wouldn’t it have been cooler if the hero used an ax instead of a sword and rather than being young and dashing he was old and on his last leg? Yeah, then he could kill the queen because he was bitter about his life instead of saving her for simply a pat on the back. But why would he do that? Well, something dramatic happened to him as a child that only resurfaced as his sister died on a quest to rescue the queen and because of this….”

Before long, the original scene, character, or story that inspired my idea will be nothing like the idea/story I’ve created once all the parts have been properly developed.

Events and people in our own world, whether the present or past, are another great source of ideas. The world is full of awful, heroic, and interesting people. Ever heard of Vlad the Impaler?  He inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula. War of the Roses and the Hundred Years War? It inspired George RR Martin to write A Song of Ice and Fire. In both instances, the writer took a thought or concept and made it his own. I’ve had several ideas for characters and stories that came to me while watching the History Channel.

Like I said, ideas can come from anything. For me, many ideas come from simply asking a question. Wouldn’t it be cool if…? What would someone do if…?

Wouldn’t it be cool to write a fantasy story that explores the relationship between siblings and how they grow/develop based on the outside forces influencing them?

The idea for my Blood and Tears Trilogy started off with that basic question. From there, I simply asked more questions and then answered them to create a world, characters, etc.

Where do you get your ideas from? What inspires you to create?


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