Where do they come from?
Ideas for a story can pretty much come from anywhere, and at any time.
- While you're out walking.
- Taking a shower.
- Reading a magazine, novel.
- Watching a movie. TV show.
- Lying on your bed, staring up at the ceiling.
- Staring out of a window.
- While you're writing.
- Newspaper articles.
- While you're out shopping.
- Watching documentaries.
As an example.
One of my latest screenplays came about from several ideas that had been gestating in the back of my mind for quite a long time. I'd come across this photo, or drawing of all these balls of light floating through a forest or something, and it had sparked my imagination. I decided these balls of light were going to be will-o'-the-wisps, and that I'd have this old guy chasing after them with a butterfly net, and that he'd take them home with him. Great scene I thought, but what the heck am I going to do with it?
So I ended up having this scene in my head for months, and had no idea what to do with it. Then one day I was out cycling, and came across some canal boats, and thought that'd be a great location. What if this old guy that collects these wisps lives on a canal boat? So I scribbled that down in my notepad. But I still had nowhere to take this character, or location. So this character and location sat inside my head while I tried to wrangle and develop some kind of scenario, and story.
While out walking in a public park I came across this wooden statue, and got the distinct impression that its eyes were following me around as I took in the sights. Wow! I thought, if I were a kid, I'd probably be a little spooked by that. So I scribbled that down in my notepad.
But I still had no idea what I was going to do with this scene where this old guy is chasing after wisps that had been stuck in my subconscious and imagination for quite a long time. Then one day, while I was pondering, why not have this statue that's located in this park, right next to this canal path? That might work. So I scribbled that down, but I still didn't have much of a story, and no lead character, or characters.
One day I was reading through The Magic Canvas which you can read on here, and decided that I'd borrow a few ideas from it, and started to formulate, and work out this new story. And that's when I came up with The Statue In The Park. Which you can read on here as well. I sort of cheated a little by doing that. But I enjoyed throwing all these ideas on the page, and then trying to figure out how this story would unfold.
Ideas can hit you at any time. You might be walking past a billboard with a fascinating picture or drawing that sparks your imagination, and you get another idea or two. Just remember to scribble them down as soon as possible. You never know when that one great idea might slap you in the face.