Saturday, 1 August 2009

Where Do You Get Your Ideas From?

reading good fiction
reading bad fiction
reading non fiction
watching films
random things that people say to me
overhearing snippets of conversation not meant for my ears
suddenly remembering something awful that happened to me
spontaneous flashes of story that appear without explanation in my head
going to new places
going on holiday
going to Ireland
visiting museums
visiting churches
having to do things that I don’t want to do
encountering anything that in any way reminds me of my childhood
bouts of self-hypnotism
talking to my wife
talking to my daughters
running a high temperature
being very frightened
random pop lyrics
long train journeys
Italian renaissance art
relics and reliquaries
wandering about London as if I’d never seen it before
staring at myself in the mirror
getting lost (happens a lot)
losing my dignity
losing my wallet
Greek and Roman mythology
Celtic mythology
anything to do with the Catholic church


Paul Lamb said...

A short list! (<--- that's typically subtle American sarcasm)

I've generally found that my "ideas" come from a combination or clustering of several images or ideas. Thus the man on the train does not give me a story idea, but if I can combine it with a bit of conversation I heard elsewhere or some understanding of the world that I imagine he embodies, then I'm started.

When I do put such pieces together and find them worthy, I'm often surprised as the sources. I would never have guessed, for example, that a random moment at the shopping mall would lend itself to a fruitful story idea. Or that stupid book I wasted time reading could provide a valuable component. Or something a teacher told me thirty years ago could pop up and play a part.

I've learned that I can only rarely "direct" my muse and that the more eclectic I am in my samplings (of life, literature, conversation, people watching, et ceter) the more likely that perfect blending will occur.

Thanks for making me think about this!

Brian Keaney said...

Oddly enough, I find bad books better at sparking ideas than good books.

Kat said...

I see that birds didn't make it onto the list but cats did. Hmmm very telling indeed.