Where do the ideas come from?

The most common thing I get asked when I tell people that I’m a writer, is ‘what do you write about?’ People are always quite curious to know if I base my characters on people I meet. I suppose the answer is yes and no.  It’s hard to describe exactly what sparks off an idea. It could just be something someone says, or the particular way a person speaks or moves. Often a photograph or image will give me an idea for a story or poem. Sometimes it’s a particularly emotional experience that I’ve had that will inspire me to write (such as the birth of my nephew or my grandad talking about his involvement in the war.) But I never set out to deliberately write something about a person that I know or have met. I think it’s easier to create characters who are very different to the world you live in. I find them much more fun to mould and there is far less chance of getting sued!  I generally find that if you’re passionate about something, that passion and commitment will come across to any reader and thats when the writing works.

I find reading regularly helps me to be imaginative, particularly when I’m discovering new writers, who may use words and images a lot differently than myself. I find the same goes with film and theatre, anything that involves storytelling intrigues and inspires me. Although for me the process is often a little long. The seeds of an idea can often only evolve properly, six months to a year down the line. This can be frustrating at times, but I’ve learnt that this is how it works for me, and forcing myself to work will only produce results that I’m less than happy with!

I’d be interested to hear from other writers as to where they get their ideas from and what they find helps them to be inspired. Is the process an instant one, or more like myself, harvesting itself somewhere to be discovered at a later date? Does reading help? Who do you admire and who do you envy?

So please leave comments if you can!