Tuesday, April 24, 2007


I’m sure every writer has been asked where they get their ideas. And how those ideas turn into a story. I know I have. Interestingly enough, I find that a rather difficult question to answer. Probably because, for me, there isn’t any distinct process.

I've given it some thought, and decided to share. Lucky you. :o)

The basis for my ideas is an imaginative, creative mind. I’ll see something, or experience something, and all of a sudden, thoughts start tumbling. It’s like a snowball rolling down the hill. Pretty soon, one tiny germ of a thought has coalesced into a mini movie in my head. Without even trying, a scene is complete.

Well, any writer knows it doesn’t stop there. Because even though the snowball grew, all we’ve got is the head of our snowman—a scene—so our creation is nowhere near complete. We need a torso—arms, legs, and facial features. And for anyone that’s ever built a snowman, you know that generally the torso is made up of more snow, but we can get really creative with the arms, legs, and features. So, let’s assume those elements are our voice. We can take an idea—and it may be something that’s already been done—and make it uniquely ours.

You see? We take our idea, then we have to start adding elements. If you’re writing romance, you need to decide on a conflict between your main characters; you need to know their goals and motivation. What will be their black moment? The situation that could tear them apart. What will ultimately bring them back together?

Let me give you an example. A teaser, if you will.

Recently, while eating a hotdog, I dropped mustard. I work at home, and was pacing while eating. Naturally, this couldn’t happen downstairs on the hardwood, it had to happen upstairs on the off-white carpet. (No kids!) As I’m scrubbing the carpet, cursing that the one time I drop food and it makes it past my bust, it has to land on my carpet, and it has to be mustard! Was I thinking about a story idea at that moment? Nope. But one popped into my head. Suddenly I have a heroine eating a hotdog, and she gets mustard on her chest. Hmm, where would she be? Where would one walk around eating a hotdog? My brain starts filling in the blanks. A few days later, I sit down, write a short story, and eventually sell it. You’ll have to buy it to learn how my snowman turned out!

So, while my example may sound simplistic, that’s the way it happens for me. What about you? Where do your ideas come from?

Also posted at www.ellefredrix.blogspot.com

1 comment:

Allie Boniface said...

Elle, This is a great post, and so true. When I first started writing, I had a tough time coming up with ideas that would generate into an entire story.

Not so anymore. I think of story ideas just about anywhere. I get a lot from the media, from seeing someone walking down the street and wondering "what if?", from my own weird and undefined dreams...