Getting Story Ideas

Ideas are weird. That is about is deep as this is going to get so feel free to stop there. Aww, who am I kidding. I really want you to keep reading. But you knew that already.

But ideas are weird. Especially the process of getting ideas. I know the stereotypical question writers are supposed to get is where do the ideas come from and I guess the the stereotypical answer is that the just come. And sometimes that is true for me.

But other times I know exactly where an idea comes from. There is an idea I have, which I am not going to write out here but that I want to include in the sequel to Deadly Troubadours, and that idea totally has an origin story.

I watch a lot of movies. Sometimes the movies just absorb me. I get lost in what is going on. My mind just sort of shuts off and as long as the movie plays by its own set-up rules I will stay with it. (I remember watching Phone Booth in the theater and it winning me over.) Other times, the movie and I are feuding from the start. I say movie because my current idea stems from a movie, but this feuding can go on with really any form of narrative entertainment. Anything the movie does I am watching it for flaws. What doesn’t make sense, what doesn’t work in the story, what was underused, what was overused, etc. It is like rather than watching the movie for entertainment I am watching it just to pick it apart. This probably isn’t the best way to watch something, but it happens.

Now, a lot of times these flaws just bug me for being stupid. Sometimes there are things I view as problems and I start to wonder how to fix it. This can be a fun little brainstorm game, but a lot of the time either the problem I am looking at is too specific to a work or perhaps the fix is too specific. Either way, using the fix in something I want to do won’t really work. Some things are just universe specific. Or perhaps to set up a situation so that my fix would work would be stealing too much of something that isn’t mine.

Sometimes this thinking about a problem, or maybe for this part of the piece I should say thinking about how I would rather things be done, gets me brainstorming. I come up with some neat ideas that are directly inspired but something else. Now, if it is that close, I wouldn’t want to run to far with it. For example, I had a lot of fun coming up with this little story, but you can see that it is a thinly veiled rip-off of an extremely popular franchise. For a little blog post, I don’t see the harm. But as much as I like it it being such an homage might keep it from being in any future short-story collections I might have planned.

But sometimes a movie will have a small little element. Something that has little to do with the actual plot or world of the movie proper. And something about that little element will get me thinking. A seed will be planted. And as it grows it transforms. Like those little foam pellets that you wet and they grow into dinosaurs or cars. The point is they are completely unrecognizable from the original pellet. That’s an idea that I feel safe calling my own. And it is going in the sequel to Deadly Troubadours.

I’m really excited about this idea and it basically came from just wondering why so many people would be in someone’s retinue. So read, watch, enjoy, but don’t forget to pick apart and look at things from all sorts of crazy angles. Not only can it help evaluate your own work, but maybe it will add a little inspiration into the mix.

As for the the other answer to where do you get your ideas, that is easy. In the shower.

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