Monday, June 14, 2010

How I Write - Ideas

Welcome! Click a picture above and link to the HOW I WRITE! home page so you can visit all of the writers involved in this week's blog series! I big thank you to Ansha Kotyk for being the organizer of this blog series!
I am very excited to get out and read how other writers come up with their story ideas because I really struggled with this topic.

I'm not really sure how I come up with my ideas - but interestingly enough, earlier today I did plot out a new short! I got my newest idea from watching tv and seeing a character trait I wanted to write. So I got out my pen and paper, put a gender twist on a classic idea and wrote out a few things things that could happen. At this point in my "Idea" stage, I don't have names (these come much later and after much time wasted on

Truth be told, the notes I wrote today most likely won't get another look or thought on for about 6 months. Later tonight, I will add it to my word doc called "Plot bunnies" with point form bullets. Once I am looking for something fresh to write, I will consult that file, see what outline grabs my attention, and start working on it.

So, back to the key question, where do I get my ideas from? Mainly they just hit me over the head like little pebbles pinging off a second floor bedroom window of a teenager. The stories come in pieces - usually the key conflict first, the scene/plot next and lastly the characters.

It is worth noting that for the passed 3 years...the same amount of time I have been writing...I had a long commute to work (1 1/2 hour drive each way) and my plotting, story creation and ideas came to me while driving and listening to the radio. Now that I am working from home, I have been tempted to just get in my car and drive when I am blocked, but I can be a bit scattered brain and am worried I'll end up a day's drive away from home before I realize I should turn around.

I am thrilled to be part of the HIW (How I Write) blog series and look forward to next week's topic : Character/World Building.

Thank you for reading!



  1. Great post Kendal! Ideas do show up in little pieces for me too. But any idea for me has to be expanded right away or I lose it. I used to put my ideas in little folders on my computer... but they usually end up there, never to be seen again. :) And YES, I've wasted tons of time on baby name sites... you have to have just the right name or your character won't talk!

  2. Baby name sites are a time sucker. The moment I go I get pulled in. Granted, I usually am looking for the more unusual names. Still. You used to tape it as well didn't you? while you drove? Didn't you tape your thoughts?

  3. I work from home too. But I do find that getting my iPod and headphones and jogging around the neighborhood or hitting the treadmill for a couple of miles is a good substituted for commuting / driving to generate ideas. I highly recommend it.

  4. I think it's so interesting to read how we all come up with our ideas -- someone start throwing pebbles at me! That's great! No wait, you didn't mean that literally.

    I get a lot of ideas driving too - and need to get a notebook to keep in the car.

  5. Nice post. I too have an idea file, but sometimes I wonder. I remember reading Stephen King on the subject in the foreword to one of his collections. He said that he DOESN'T keep an idea file--because his theory is that the good ideas will stick in his mind, and the bad ones will dry up and blow away.

    Well, maybe if I had the experience and confidence in my writing that he has in his, I'd see it that way too. But for now, I'll keep my idea file.

  6. Love the post. I am a bit of a scatterbrain myself. I could definitely see me getting caught up in story plotting and driving for hours before realizing I wasn't supposed drive 3 states away.

  7. I love the image of ideas as pebbles bouncing off a window. I don't keep an idea file necessarily. I have written some thoughts down on two future works. Just keywords to remind me of the 'feeling' the idea gave me.

  8. Thanks everyone for the comments! And thanks for the comment on the pebble thing Isabelle - my cps all warn me I use way too many descriptions like that in my writing and I hate to cut them lol.
    Alexia is right, I use to have a tape recorder and when all else fails I would call myself and leave a voicemail. Something I would get home and have 10 new voicemails!