Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Idea Bag

Everyone should have an idea bag. A place where the good ideas are kept until we can put them into good use.

Today's the last day I'll be answering questions emailed as a result of the Surrey Writers' Conference. I've answered a number via private email but, hey, it's time to move on :)

QUESTION: Where do you get your ideas?

ANSWER: This is definitely the number one question I get asked. I think Stephen King has been known to reply, "I ask the boys in the basement just to send one up." and I believe Jenny Crusie adapted that by calling her idea creators the Girls in the Basement. My ideas erupt all around me. There are days when every situation is the premise for a new book.

For example, I went to Safeway the other day because,well, the kids were hungry and tired of pizza. I parked beside a large older model vehicle. The windows of the car were rolled down and in the passenger seat sat an elderly man. His head was bent, his chin against his chest and a breeze lifted his sparse hair while his chest rose and fell. He was asleep obviously waiting for whoever was inside Safeway to get what they needed and take him home. It was a warm fall day but he had his jacket over him like a blanket.

My writer's mind thought about him the entire time I shopped. I told myself that under his jacket/blanket his ankles and wrists may be bound. He may have been drugged and not sleeping at all. Maybe there was a bomb in his lap. Maybe the cops would discover the bomb when I called 9-1-1 ... I'm not making this up. This was exactly what I was thinking. I got back to the parking lot with my groceries disappointed to find the car next to mine was gone. The scenario is still playing inside my head like a song you can't shake. If it keeps up I'll find a way to write it out, even if it never makes it to a store shelf.

Where do you get your ideas?


B.E. Sanderson said...

LOL, I love the way your mind works, Wendy. My imagination doesn't wander that way any more. I get my ideas from the collective mishmash inside my head. Sometimes something will strike me, and it'll grow into a plot. Other times, I'll be laying in bed, trying to fall asleep, when the plot drops into my conscious mind like a gift. Most times I have to get up and write them down before I forget them. I guess I don't get my ideas from any one place, but I sure do get a lot of them. My idea bag is full. I just have to find the time to write all the stories I think of. =oD

Wendy Roberts said...

My dreams can sometimes solve problems but rarely reveal full plot ideas. According to last night's dream, I should be writing a book about purple Jello and earth worms =8O I love that each person has their own way!