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Wake up authors: Ideas for writing a book are everywhere

February 20, 2013



Someone asked me the other day where I get ideas for stories. As if I have the sort of brain that can come up with such ideas more easily than most people.

Okay. I’ve written a few books, and the man who asked me this is still looking to write his first one. But really, do I have any more ideas for stories than this guy, or other people out there for that matter?

Ideas are everywhere. I mean … we all have lives. Some are more exciting than others, I’ll grant you. But my life is certainly nothing remarkable. I do many of the same things every day other people do.

If you’re looking to be a writer, you should be aware of issues, topics and subjects that might make for stories. That’s really how you come up with the books you want to write.

I’ve been carrying around stories in my head for years. I often think of something from my past and say to myself, “Well gee whiz, that just might make a good book someday.” It doesn’t necessarily mean I tell the story just as it happened. Perhaps I want to take bits and pieces of the adventure from my boyhood and write a mystery or a novel.

When you go to work today (assuming you have a job) there’s a good chance something might pop out at you as good fodder for a story. Think of the drama of your workplace, the office politics, the impossible boss. It doesn’t mean you go write a story about these people, but you can certainly use them as models for some novel or other book you might one day want to write.

The point is, keep awake. Stay alert. All sorts of interesting things are happening in your world, even if you think otherwise. What did you dream about last night? Maybe you want to start jotting down your dreams upon waking every morning. Hey. You just might find some stories there.

Some writers carry around small notebooks and write down ideas as they come. I’ve never done it, but I can certainly see the merits in it.

Don’t say you don’t have any ideas for stories. They are everywhere. Tap into them.

One of the best books I ever read on writing was Zen in the Art of Writing by the late great Ray Bradbury. Bradbury was a prolific author of science fiction and other works. He was forever snatching ideas and random thoughts and turning them into stories. He felt the subconscious mind was a great resource for writing. Who can argue with that?

“A writer’s past is the most important thing he has. Sometimes an object, a mask, a ticket stub, anything at all, helps me remember a whole experience, and out of that may come an idea for a story.” – Ray Bradbury




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