Where do your story ideas come from?

Creative writing, Family, Ideas, MA, Open University, Parents, Syd Field, Three Act Structure

Where do your story ideas come from?

The more I write, the more ideas come to me. I find them everywhere, from news I hear, from magazine articles, from conversations I earwig on, through to just those things that strike me at 3am in the morning.

Inspiration is all around us, we just have to take note and listen to ourselves.

I lost my writing mojo for a long time, probably around eight years. This is also the time I met my future husband and our first child came into our lives. I always felt ‘guilty’ for leaving the writing behind. But it never left me. It was always there and I picked it back up when I was on maternity leave, enrolling in the MA Creative Writing course with the Open University. I’m now back into the thick of it and finding ideas are coming at me thick and fast.

I usually get a spark. I have a physical ideas book that I usually scribble one or two lines into. Some examples of recent entries:

  • Naturism
  • Chef – you’re on the menu
  • Room service – ghost? killer? maid? They have seen things
  • Lifetime supply of something.
  • Run – how do you know when to run?
  • Pregnant overnight
  • The clinic – flu vac clinic but it’s actually killing people
  • Telephone calls from the dead

Revisiting these ideas, where did they come from? Naturism, I have no recollection. A chef who serves people up on the menu is an idea I’ve had for years. Room service ghost etc… – perhaps American Horror Story. Lifetime supply of something – magazine article. Running – I had an idea about when to run away from something, but again I don’t know what sparked it. Pregnant overnight – this is the subject of my second tutor marked assignment. The clinic – a visit to the flu vac clinic. Telephone calls from the dead – my friend is a parapsychologist who is a researcher on this subject.

So, it’s all around us. Write down your ideas. Look back at them. I work in Syd Field’s three act structure so I always look for three ‘Acts’, or beginning, middle and conclusion. Can my idea be developed into something like this? The potential is usually there. It’s up to me to shape it.