I must be a writer. I’ve been asked The Question. If you’re a writer, you know all about The Question. If you’re not a writer, you might have asked a writer The Question. You know which question I mean. It’s up there in the headline to this blogpost.
Where do you get your ideas?
Neil Gaiman says that The Question is an occupational hazard, like being asked for an on-the-spot diagnosis if you’re a doctor, or for legal advice if you’re a lawyer. (Read his answer, and his exploration of that answer. It’s superb.)
Every part of the process (and ideas are only the starting point) takes practice. In an earlier post, I talked about the story games I play with children. Here’s another one; a perfect way of exercising the idea-generating mechanism.
On Facebook, a friend has been posting images as a jumping point for a story. A picture, a paragraph of setting, and a question or two. How do they feel? What happens next? I’ve been looking at paintings by Victorians who were reinventing the Regency through their own romantic filters. They’re great for prompting stories. Do you want to have a go? Just tell me in the comments what you think is happening in the picture. Here are some questions to get you started. What did he ask? What did she answer? How did the things get on the floor? Whose dress is on the couch? How does he feel?