Where do you get your inspiration?

Specifics about craft, talent, technique, etc.
Chris533
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Where do you get your inspiration?

Postby Chris533 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:09 pm

I saw this subject come up within another thread - on another subject and, a) I lost it, and b) figure it warrants it's own thread anyway.

So - when you're trying to come up with new stories - where do you get your ideas/inspiration?
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morganb
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Re: Where do you get your inspiration?

Postby morganb » Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:18 am

Ahhh...the age-old question. It always seems to be different for everyone. But I think what it really all comes down to is keeping an open mind and an active curiosity, trying to see old things in new ways, paying attention to what's going on around you, and always asking yourself, "What if...?" I find that when I'm doing all this, stuff just sort of pops in and the light bulb begins to glow.


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Re: Where do you get your inspiration?

Postby reigheena » Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:57 pm

A lot of my story ideas have come from playing video games and wanting to take things a different direction than they did. Such as "What if Zelda was jealous that Link found the Master Sword?"
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Re: Where do you get your inspiration?

Postby morganb » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:54 am

reigheena wrote:A lot of my story ideas have come from playing video games and wanting to take things a different direction than they did. Such as "What if Zelda was jealous that Link found the Master Sword?"


Ha ha! That's awesome! And gives me a good excuse to play more video games. "I'm doing research honey, really!"


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Re: Where do you get your inspiration?

Postby LDWriter2 » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:45 pm

Hmm, everywhere? Pictures are a major inspiration. Other stories, even novel length ones. Sometimes an idea will just pop into my head. Usually when that happens it is one scene and I need to do what led up to that scene and what comes after, if anything. Rare times a dream. Rare also is sometimes a phrase I hear or read. Another rare one is titles and blurbs for published books. I see what I can do with the same basic idea.
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Re: Where do you get your inspiration?

Postby pcmccollum » Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:50 pm

I think you're going to find a lot of repetition in this thread. wotf001

Just to give you an idea, here are the seeds from my last five stories:

  • A pink bottle of Mr. Bubbles
  • Storycubes
  • My childhood bedroom door that had what looked like a monster's face in its grain
  • 80s Hip-Hop culture
  • Tendai Monks of Japan that run A LOT over seven years.

We're writers! We should be able to find ideas anywhere.
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Re: Where do you get your inspiration?

Postby kentagions » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:11 am

What is the most logical conclusion to a current trend? = Setting/milieu

What are the two most incongruous ideas (one SF and one character oriented) I can smash together to create the core problem of a story?

How will a character with certain traits react if she/he is forced into a situation where no choice has a positive outcome?

Humor: What is the most absurd conclusion to a current trend? = Setting/milieu

Humor: What is the funniest thing that can happen to this character in this situation at this time?

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Re: Where do you get your inspiration?

Postby tparchie » Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:35 pm

This is different for everyone. Observation of the writing groups I've been to suggests that many depend on a prompt. Professional authors have themes they work to - this I guess will tie into their respective book deals. A prompt seems artificial and forced to me. Themes aren't hard, there are thousands of them just waiting to be explored. The exploration side is different; I have a number of different ways of dealing with the actual process, depending on whether I'm progressing a scene, resolving a plot discontinuity or sharpening up a character.
Those different ways can mean going for a walk, sleeping on it, listening to a relevant musical piece in the car or just plain writing out the ideas (paper or PC). Sometimes, all it takes is a measured discontinuity to the process of writing, to get things to click.
TP

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Re: Where do you get your inspiration?

Postby SueD » Mon Mar 26, 2018 6:45 pm

I think about interesting scientific scenarios and eventually those morph into ideas for sci fi stories.

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Re: Where do you get your inspiration?

Postby DragonRider » Thu Apr 05, 2018 2:57 pm

Usually I look at something in the world around me and decide to become interested in it, and ask myself "What if..." questions about the item.
Or place it on an alien planet and ... maybe it mutates. Or maybe there's a whole colony of beings living inside of it. Or it's actually a super-being in disguise, meddling with human thought and running experiments on us. Or...
Then I build from there. ;p
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Re: Where do you get your inspiration?

Postby BLAlley » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:13 pm

I never tried to come up with an idea. I wrote every story based on an idea which came to me in one form or another.

My books were inspired by:

Twin Arrows Trading Post.
Watching Baseball on TV.
A dream.
A paper by Professor Thomas J Weiler of Vanderbilt Physics Department
A flash fiction contest prompt
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Re: Where do you get your inspiration?

Postby RSchibler » Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:11 pm

My stories come from collisions of ideas. I usually picture a character, with some background ideas, and they sit in an empty room until another idea joins the space, a setting or a conflict that interests me. I bring them together to write my stories. The Writing Excuses podcast discussed a similar approach, that good stories don't come from one place but many. Nice to be in their company in one sense, anyway :)
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Re: Where do you get your inspiration?

Postby Elto_Danzig » Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:05 am

History, usually
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Re: Where do you get your inspiration?

Postby SueD » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:51 pm

I have a list of interesting scientific what if ideas I’d like to explore. I think about them and daydream until I get story ideas that both work as a story and also as a vehicle for exploring the idea.

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Re: Where do you get your inspiration?

Postby orbivillein » Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:58 am

From perturbations of my orbit, internal and external influences that bother or delight and complicate my life, that want understanding of their meanings, and probably shared by more than a few other people.

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Re: Where do you get your inspiration?

Postby WaywardSaint » Tue Aug 14, 2018 2:37 pm

Dreams. As in: things my subconscious mind turns loose on me while I sleep.
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Re: Where do you get your inspiration?

Postby michaeljwyantjr » Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:56 pm

What if X was true...
Politics...
Socio-economic inequality...
Mental Illness...

... as it affects a person right now/in the future/in the fantasy world I created.
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LibrarianBarbarian
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Re: Where do you get your inspiration?

Postby LibrarianBarbarian » Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:18 am

I've gotten inspiration from dreams, landscapes, historical incidents, memories of friendships or relationships I have had and the intricate toy-soldier scenarios I played as a child, role-playing and computer games and many other places.

Once I saw two brothers eating together at a Golden Corral Buffet and based on their appearances, the way one was eating his ribs, and snatches of their conversation, I built them into the savage protagonist and his monstrous sidekick of my first published story. I'm sure those two anonymous guys would be really thrilled if they knew.

Sometimes I take little bits of stories I have read or movies I have seen and blend and shape them into something that is different enough from the originals to avoid being accused of plagiarism. Several times I have based a character on the image presented by an actor, actress or other celebrity. If you are in the proper frame of mind, you can pick up inspiration almost anywhere.

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Re: Where do you get your inspiration?

Postby disgruntledpeony » Mon Mar 02, 2020 4:29 am

Apparently, I never actually posted in this thread. O_o Was sure I had.

In any case, my inspirations are wide and varied. Books, both fiction and nonfiction; movies and TV (though not as often these days, because the twins have severely limited my TV time); music; conversations with friends/family; etcetera. When I come up with an interesting thought/idea that doesn't quite fit anything, I jot down notes in a Google Doc I've titled "Word Doodles". Haven't had any stories come from that doc yet, but it's growing ever so slowly and it's fun to read.

I will admit that a number of the larger stories I'm exploring these days are about and/or inspired by characters I've played in tabletop RPGs--most often RPGs I was GMing, had come up with an original setting for, etcetera. (There was a ten-year period where I didn't really write, but did a LOT of gaming, so my story ideas from that time period ended up as game fodder instead of landing directly on the page.)

LibrarianBarbarian wrote:I've gotten inspiration from dreams, landscapes, historical incidents, memories of friendships or relationships I have had and the intricate toy-soldier scenarios I played as a child, role-playing and computer games and many other places.


The mention of toy-soldier scenarios put me in mind of all the things I used to play with when I was a child. My mother never bought toy soldiers for me or my siblings, but we did have little plastic figures I could run around on adventures or big dramatic things. We collected a bunch of sea shells from the beach one year, and I used to divide them into the different types of shells and have them be family groups and run these big, dramatic Romeo and Juliette style dramas. When I got a bit older, I got these awesome horse toys called Grand Champions that I'd do similar things with (they all had names, but other details changed from game to game). Those horses saw a lot of things, man...
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Re: Where do you get your inspiration?

Postby MtlWriter » Fri Mar 06, 2020 2:42 pm

I get mine from the dump I live in. The lack of any kind of real-life and any money to do something about it.
Wanting something better is also my inspiration, as well as hoping to make my son proud to be my son.

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Re: Where do you get your inspiration?

Postby ellisael » Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:24 am

i am often inspired by the morning walks that i take and the morning ritual of freewriting that i do

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tonycreeney
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Re: Where do you get your inspiration?

Postby tonycreeney » Thu May 21, 2020 7:05 am

I get my inspiration for stories from emotions.

I sit down, look at the screen, and do a little word-association game. That association is a load of word-vomit that's linked to how I'm feeling--for some reason, negative emotions flow better during this little exercise; go figure--and once I have that flash of inspiration that my subconscious launches into my brain, off I go.

I've tried coming up with ideas before hand, but the stories just never worked. It felt so restricting, so limiting to me, I had to give up and find another way; it's annoying because I've got so many cool concepts I'd love to try, but I know they wouldn't work because of the way my brain's wired. Every time I finish a first draft, I'm always like, "what the f**k did I just write?" wotf019

It's exciting, not knowing what you're about to write. A little terrifying too. But, you've got to work with the tools God gave you.

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nreavis
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Re: Where do you get your inspiration?

Postby nreavis » Thu May 21, 2020 8:10 am

My ideas come from a myriad of places.

Sometimes it will come up as part of a discussion when I'm just spitballing with my friends. Sometimes it will be a picture that prompts my imagination to start thinking.

I have a notebook that I jot random ideas down in because they just come to me at the strangest times (the weirdest one being a fantasy series I plan on working on later this year, that I came up with a world build for while in the shower)

I get inspired by a lot of the things I read and see, and I usually try to find a way to take the tropes used and see if I can put a unique spin on it.
The other thing that inspires me is that I know with each project I complete, its one more step towards being published, and that really drives me and gets me going :)
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