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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Where Do Those Ideas Come From?



Writers (and other creative types) often get asked the question: "Where do you get your ideas from?" And while I'd like to say that I get all my ideas while hanging out on a hot island beach while being plotzed on mai tais, the reality is not that exciting. Which is why most writers have some vague answer to the question. No two people really come up with ideas the same two ways.

Ideas are usually insidious. They plop into my head when nothing else is really going on in there. Usually while washing dishes (my most hated chore), or showering while belting out the high notes to songs no one wants to hear me sing, or driving in traffic and praying that idiot driving that [annoying yuppie car] won't hit me. Ideas play the sneak attack game, and the longer the idea sticks like peanut butter to the inside of my brain pan, the more insidious it becomes.

Then it starts sneaking into my thoughts while I'm supposed to be doing more important things. Like watching a movie at the theatre that I just paid $10.50 for. Or doing important things at the Day Job. Or talking to people. Or...well, sometimes it's hard to focus, all right?  

By now you've noticed that I still haven't really answered the question "Where do you get your ideas from?" Er...I gaze into the heart of the universe and it speaks to me; I stare into the soul of the sun and the stars align and magic returns to the world and voila! Idea!

Um, really my ideas seem to come from one of three places: 1) that book/movie/story could have been better if they did something different, but the basic theme was nifty, and oooh wouldn't it be more fun if it happened in space/another planet/a magical world and 2) that song sounds like it's about pain/happiness/sorrow/numbness/whatev and I think there is a little nub of a story there and 3) the usual "what if?" game.

Now that makes it sound like I steal all my ideas. Maybe, in a roundabout way I do, if only the core theme that interests me. My most recent work-in-progress came more to the forefront of my brain because of a nerdy in-depth discussion I'd had with a friend about the lacking dynamic between Loki and Thor in the Thor movie, and the lack of serious daddy issues that makes the relationship between those two characters interesting. A different type of brother and dad issue wound up being a large part of my story, and honestly made it a stronger first draft.

Now, the problem is how to learn to juice up those ideas, and how to make them flow. One day maybe, I'll figure it out.

Now kiddies, how do you creative types get your ideas? Wow me with it after the beep.

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