Thursday, March 25, 2010

Where Stories Come From: idea to pen on paper (or fingers on keyboard)

This is the last post in the month-long blog series: How Writer's Do It: A Writer's Process Series. The idea came from the lovely Corrine Jackson. Once you read my blog, go here and read Cory's and follow the links to my talented, fellow writers. I've had such a great time doing this series!

The book I chose to use is Stein on Writing by Sol Stein. This book gives practical solutions for all stages of writing, except for today's topic. I think today's topic is so diverse from writer to writer and quite simply - personal, so I will share where my stories come from before my fingers ever touch the keyboard.

Dreams. It's that simple. I've always had vivid dreams and upon waking, I would finish the dream while I got dressed, drove or went about my daily tasks. Sometimes a dream would continue for days. When I was a child, I would "write" in my mind, quite often the sequels to movies. I think it goes to being an only child, and a lonely one at that. My imagination was given free reign to roam and create, I was encouraged by my mother and told I could be and do anything I wanted. While my childhood had its problems, I was given the gift of a free mind.

One day, a year ago, I had such a vivid dream that I absolutely loved and just had to know how it would end, so instead of letting my mind follow, I sat at the laptop and let my fingers type what my mind saw. That's where my first project came from. Same with the second, I dreamed and wrote the scene. In both of these projects, once I got the scene written, the rest of the story flowed out.

The next two projects have been different. They both came from a dream but I didn't have the need to get up and write it down because it wasn't a fully formed dream. Both of these are Contemporary and edgy. The idea came from an aspect of a dream and then my mind worked through the idea. For days I thought about them and figured out where the story could go. I also listened to the characters talk to each other and then I had a desire to write the stories.

So, this is the place my stories come from. I love to listen to where others get their stories and the process they go through before writing. Everyone is so unique. Processes are like fingerprints, everyone has a different one. Where do your ideas come from?

Don't forget to go to Corrine's she has prizes for participation.


  1. Man, I've wished many times that the dream fairy would bring me an idea. It never happens. But sometimes I wake up with plot points figured out, so I'll settle for that.

  2. Man, I wish my dreams were of the variety that gave birth to great writing ideas. I don't usually dream about my SNIs until after I've been struck by the bug and am thinking about it. THEN it carries over!

  3. I'm with Kate. Rarely get SNIs in my dreams, but sometimes a scene or a piece of dialogue works itself out.

  4. I have a ton of strange dreams too, but mine usually involve either an elephant or a bear, my house being broken into, and getting into arguments with the other school moms. Can't ever figure out how to work all of that into one book. Huh.

  5. I often get my ideas from dreams too. Or I'll have a vague idea already, but then I'll have a dream about it that makes it suddenly turn vivid and insistent.

  6. I get most of my ideas from dreams, too! I write down what I can remember when I get up and then I let the idea ruminate. The final product might not look anything like the dream (like my WiP), but it helps to have your mind play vivid, unique movies to get the imagination kick-started.

    Great post!


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