Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Where Do You Get Your Ideas by Marta Perry

If there's one question writers dread, it's this one: Where do you get your ideas? The problem isn't that we don't know the answer--rather, that it's so difficult to explain the answer to someone who doesn't see the world in the same way we do. (I was tempted to say, "the same screwy way" but didn't!) I understand that Speculative Fiction authors get a even more difficult question--where do you get your crazy ideas?! One well-known author is rumored to answer that--"Why, from a crazy idea factory in Schenectady, of course!"

This weekend I had a terrific example of this from my ten-year-old granddaughter. We were having hot chocolate in Barnes and Noble after book browsing when she whispered, "Don't look around, but I think that man and lady just got bad news."

Exercising super-human effort not to look, I asked, "Why do you think so?"

Georgia answered, "Because he was looking at his e-mail, and his face got real tight, and then it turned red. And he said something to the lady, and she looked like she was going to cry."

Doesn't it raise questions in your mind? A writer friend, to whom I told this story, suggested that we write the story so we could find out what news the man received! Okay--that's how a writer looks at life, and I expect in a few years, the world will be hearing from our Georgia.

So that's the real answer to the question. There are story nuggets all around us every day, but only a writer notices them and starts weaving a story from them.

If you're not a writer and want to know what it feels like, I'd suggest spending a day just really noticing the people and events around you. Let yourself wonder, the way a child does. Give your imagination a chance to begin weaving a story. You'll surprise yourself with the results!

Marta (proud grandmother of six)


Debby Giusti said...

Love the picture of your cutie and her insightful comment!

Yes, story ideas abound. Thank goodness!

Marti, your latest HQN was in the goody bag I received at Barbara Vey's Reader Appreciation Luncheon. Looks like a great read!

Jennifer said...

Hi Marta and Debby, Thanks for sharing how your minds work and think! This will help me in looking at the world in a whole new light. Jenny

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Jennifer! Hope all is well. Say hello to your mom and sis for me! Hugs!

Keli Gwyn said...

Marta, I love how attuned your granddaughter is to the world around her. Like you, I think you have a future author in the family.

A reporter for our local newspaper--California's oldest--interviewed me today and asked where I get my ideas. I didn't want to say they often come from people watching and listening in on the conversations of those nearby, so I came up with a more acceptable response. "From looking at old photographs, displays in historic museums, period newspaper articles and by visiting other Gold Rush-era towns." While my answer was truthful, it was incomplete. Story ideas are all around us, just as you said.