writing

Ideas, shm’ideas…

Where do ideas actually come from? It’s the question I get asked the most whenever I do a school visit. It’s also the question that’s the hardest to answer! You see I find that ideas can come from anywhere – from something as simple as what you see out of your bedroom window to something as complicated as a life-changing experience. My ideas aren’t always easy to come by though. I wish they were! Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way you could have an idea dropped down to you from ‘on high’ whenever you got stuck? A bit like the stork bringing a newborn baby.

How cool would that be! An ideas’ stork!

But on a more serious note, where do we writers actually get our ideas? Obviously from the ways mentioned above. But also from something as simple as a character name. I know authors who have crafted whole stories on a powerful name. I wonder if our literary greats did the same – Oliver Twist, Frankenstein, Mary Poppins – they’re great names, aren’t they? They conjure up a story in themselves.

I wonder what came first – the name or the story? It would be interesting if we could ask the authors, wouldn’t it? After all, those names tell us so much before we’ve even read the book. In contemporary terms, Judy Moody, Agatha Parrott and Clarice Bean, to name but a few, are absolutely brilliant title names that lend themselves perfectly to a story.

I once worked with an author who had an ideas piggy bank. Literally. Every time she saw something she liked or found interesting – be it a story in a newspaper, or simply something she had seen in a park – she would put down a few words on a piece of paper and pop it the piggy.

Banked. Then, after 6 months, she would open up the piggy and piece all the papers together. She told me that she had usually forgotten putting half of the pieces of paper into the pot in the first place, but, believe it or not, she could usually craft a story out of them. And not just any old story. But a brilliant one too. Do you have any unusual ways of coming up with ideas? If so, I’d love to hear about them…

15 thoughts on “Ideas, shm’ideas…

  1. Hi Michelle,

    Ideas-are-us – isn’t that where every author gets their ideas from? 😉

    I love the Ideas Stork and the Piggy Bank. My ‘piggy bank’ equivalent are notebooks. I’m a secret notebook hoarder. My favourite ones are from Paperchase with fun covers, the elastic round and the slip of plastic at the back to tuck extra notes and ideas in.

    Juliex

    • Hi Julie
      Thank you for posting. I love nice notebooks too! I have to have a new one every time I start a new piece of work. I’m a hoarder of nice notebooks! Ideas are, indeed, us. It worries me! I’m all out of ideas!
      Michelle x

  2. Morning Michelle 🙂

    My ideas come from pictures. 🙂 The best pictures, i save them onto my favorites on my Laptop, then i title them. Then, comes the music, then the name for the Characters. THEN, the writing of the story. 🙂

    Have a brill day Michelle! x ❤

    • Hi Laura
      Good to hear from you again! I LOVE the fact that pictures inspire you. Actually, when I wrote Dinosaur Land with Linda Chapman, I surrounded myself with pictures of dinosaur landscapes. I needed to be able to visualise it in front of me to get into the sense of place.
      Michelle x

  3. Love the Piggy Bank but harder to carry around than a notebook. Isn’t it amazing how much we can forget – and how exciting it is to stumble over old Eureka moments?!

    • Hi Joan
      Thank you for posting. Very true re: carrying the piggy bank. I haven’t tried it yet! Notebooks are much easier, although I need a few more Eureka moments right now!
      Michelle x

  4. Hi Michelle! An ideas’ stork sounds brilliant! I carry a notebook with me everyday. I spend my money buying a new one every weekend. If you look inside my drawers, you’ll see many different coloured notebooks! I write in them everyday. I write what happens to me each day, sort of like a diary. Then I put them in my stories.
    Hope you have a good day, Michelle. xx

    • Hi Shalini
      I love different coloured notebooks. Bright pink are my favourite! I can’t wait to read your stories in print one day!
      Michelle x

  5. Hi Michelle! An ideas’ stork sounds brilliant! I carry a notebook with me everyday. I spend my money buying a new one every weekend. If you look inside my drawers, you’ll see many different coloured notebooks! I write in them everyday. I write what happens to me each day, sort of like a diary. Then I put them in my stories.
    The idea piggy bank sounds good. But I like to carry my ideas around, and I wouldn’t be able to do that with a piggy bank!
    Hope you have a good day, Michelle. xx

  6. I usually keep a notebook with me in my purse….unfortunately I NEVER find anything that interests me..I have a VERY boring life! The piggy bank idea sounds amazing..But usually when I’m stuck on what to write..I stay stuck! :(( I don’t really know where I get my ideas from..one time I got 5 of my fave books and put all their plots together to make one plot…it turned out to be a very…interesting story! 😉 x

    • Hi Jasmine
      I bet your life isn’t boring. You’d be surprised as to what you can make interesting. Things that might seem boring to you you’ll fine are interesting to others. Don’t give up on your ideas!
      Michelle x

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