Discussion: Getting Ideas


This is the final few days before National Novel Writing Month begins. If you’re committed to participating and do not yet have an idea for your novel, I’d say you’re in trouble! But where do those ideas come from? Where does any writer get his or her ideas? It can be a difficult question to answer, but it might be the most-asked question that authors get. Every author has a different answer. Before I give my answer, here’s what Neil Gaiman had to say:

“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it. You get ideas when you ask yourself simple questions. The most important of the questions is just, What if…?…Another important question is, If only…And then there are the others: I wonder…”

Now, I really respect Neil Gaiman and I love his answer. But I also don’t want to steal his answer, so I’m going to try to come up with my own. Where do I get ideas? If the timing of my inspirational bursts proves anything, then shower water must be where I get my ideas from. I’m sure many of us get ideas in the shower, and I think that’s because your mind is not doing anything taxing in the shower. Your mind is left to wander and that’s when the best ideas come.

But where do the ideas come from? I guess I would have to say that I get ideas from what I read, what I watch, and what I would like to see in the fictional world. If I would like to read about wizards in the suburbs, then that’s what I’m going to write (spoiler alert: that’s my National Novel Writing Month idea this year). Many different sources converge in my brain to come up with ideas, and I think that’s true for all of us. And it takes each of our unique brains to come with our own, unique ideas.

So, go forth and create! And please share in the comments where you get your ideas from.

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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