A World of Ideas
This is a milestone for me, my tenth Write to the Point blog. I never realized I had that much to write about writing. Today the topic is ideas and where they come from. Enjoy!
Ideas for writing are everywhere! A footprint outside a window, a dog’s ceaseless barking and howling, a strange odor drifting in through the window. What or who is responsible for these? Three ideas to get you going when you are at a loss of what to write about.
Maybe you are walking down the street or through a park and you spot something out of place: a glove, a child’s toy, or a lipstick case. Staring at the object an idea starts to form. The glove that fell from a man’s pocket, there’s a reddish damp spot. Could it be blood? A mother with her child sees someone from her past, she wants to avoid at all costs. She hurries her child into the car and the boy drops his favorite toy, he starts to cry. The person she wants to avoid sees her as she drives off, he writes down her license plate number. A woman is arguing with her boyfriend, when he grabs her arm to force her into the car, she drops her lipstick case. The case was a gift from him early in their relationship.
If you find yourself at a loss for words, look around you. The world is full of ideas to write about. Say you are home alone, it’s night and you hear a strange noise. Write it out. Imagine what could be making the noise and why. What would you do or rather, what would your character do?
People watching is another great way to gain ideas for a story. Why is that person wearing a top hat and bow tie with blue jeans, and flip flops? In a restaurant you see a couple in a heated argument. In a story, they could be arguing about who was supposed to dispose of their murder victim. Play the ‘What if’ game when you see people. If you don’t get an idea to write about, move on to something else to inspire you.
Walking down the street at night you pass an abandoned building. One of the windows shows light seeping through the cracks in the boards. This could be a secret meeting place for a cult moving into the area. Or a young woman running away from her family now lives there. Maybe her parents abused her or kicked her out because she used drugs.
Standing at a bus stop you watch as a hearse drives by followed by two cars. Who died and why so few mourners? Perhaps the name they died under wasn’t their real name. It’s possible they were in the witness protection program. A car speeds by, well above the speed limit, moments later a police car with siren blaring and lights flashing passes by. Why is the police chasing that car? Maybe the driver robbed a bank or a jewelry store. Perhaps they are wanted for another crime and this is the first time they were spotted in months. Ask yourself where was the person hiding? Did they really commit the crime or were they framed?
Wherever you live, be it a house, apartment, or mobile home; you have neighbors. Let your imagination take control. It’s after dark, you hear scraping, and thumping sounds coming from the neighbor’s back yard. You peek out the window and see them digging a hole. They could be carrying out some sort of nature new age ritual, or burying a body part or a weapon used in a crime. In the apartment above you, you hear voices raised in anger, the sound of running feet and doors being slammed. Did someone catch their spouse being unfaithful? Did junior get suspended from school again for fighting?
Ideas for writing come from what we see, hear, touch, or smell each day. They come from our memories of growing up, getting married, having children, or not having children. Whenever you write, a part of you appears in that story. Choices you should have made when you were younger are being made by your main character.
Pay attention to what goes on around you. Pay attention to what you remember of your life. Your next story is there, waiting for you.
May the words ever flow!