Dec 11, 2015

The Cornucopia of Ideas

Okay, let’s just get this out of the way.

Every writer gets asked, more than once, and way too often in their career, a stereotypical question: “Where do you get your ideas?”

I’ve heard writers suggest a post office box in Peoria, or Bangor, Smithfield.  I’ve heard them respond providing the address of a consultant (the address is generally an empty field or a mountain top).  I’ve even heard responses to the effect that the address is secret and they can’t tell the questioner on penalty of death.  Some claim to have found a notebook full of ideas that were not turned into stories by famous authors (the further away in time, the better).  Some are rude with their responses, some vulgar, and others question not only the intelligence (or lack thereof) or the breeding of the questioner.

Of course, all answers to this question are basically trying to turn an awkward moment into a weak bit of humor.  In reality (even though we’re talking about fiction), the source of ideas is the world.  It’s you, it’s me, it’s everyone.  We’re all the source of the world’s greatest stories ever written or waiting to be written.

Want to harvest some of the billions of story ideas floating around?  Look at the pictures, in the news, in social media, in the museums; they all tell a story in the images presented – on the canvas medium of choice for presenting their ideas.  Want to get those creative juices flowing?  Randomly pick a picture you see in the news or in your email and tell us what you see.  What are the people in the picture, or looking at the picture think about what they’re doing?

And if you really are having a hard time seeing the story in the pictures, send a copy to me along with a crisp ten dollar bill and I’ll send you an idea.

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