A writer’s most frequently asked question and the one they’re all said to dread:
Where do you get your ideas from?
Some years ago I was giving a talk at a writers’ conference about where I got the ideas for my stories from. I had , as usual, overprepared and had far too much material to use in a 40 minute talk so I contacted Carl Styants, editor of the writers’ magazine Writers’ Forum and asked him if he’d be interested in an article on the subject?
Or, I added cheekily, working on the principle that if you don’t ask you don’t get, maybe even a series?
To my delight, he said yes, so for the last twelve years I have been writing a column called Ideas’ Store – and I still haven’t run out of things to write about.
check it out here: http://www.writers-forum.com
One of the great things about writing a monthly column (apart from the regular pay cheque) is the feedback I get from the readers. It’s fascinating to hear what works for them.
The other thing about writing the column is that it gives me an excuse to contact really well known writers (and many of the equally good but not so well known writers) and ask them where the inspiration for their latest book came from? I’ve had wonderfully generous quotes from some brilliant writers, many of whom have generously agreed to answer even more of my questions for my blog pages,
The biggest response I ever got was when I asked a group of Romantic Novelists if they ‘d ever written for revenge! The majority said ‘Oh yessss!’
And now I’m wondering what would happen if I asked a group of Crime Writers the same question. Watch this space!
So, where do I get my ideas from? Apart from Writer’s Forum Ideas’ Store, of course? The answer is: everywhere. Friends, neighbours, family, the supermarket, the pub. I’m a people watcher and an eavesdropper. Two important attributes for a writer – even though my family insist I’m just plain nosy.
An overheard conversation in a pub was the single trigger that led to my Much Winchmoor series and I am now on book 4.