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Where Ideas Come From

posted Aug 22, 2013, 5:24 AM by Ben Kreucher   [ updated Aug 22, 2013, 5:24 AM ]
Many times during an appearance, an author will get asked, "Where do your ideas come from?" or "Where do you get your ideas?".  Most of the time, the answer is a shrug of the shoulders or a simple explanation, like "I don't know" or "I never really question it".

Recently, I've been thinking about where my ideas come from; especially when struggling with writer's block and trying to determine ways to crash through that annoying obstacle.

I believe my ideas come from reading.  But, not writing fan fiction exactly.  If I read Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, I wonder what an event might look like through the eyes of a commoner or a soldier.  I wonder what might happen if a common soldier saved Elaine's life, became an exile, yet returned to Caemlyn because of a duty he felt toward the Lion throne.  Or when reading J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, I wonder how it might look if Harry met Draco first instead of Ron.  Or what would have happened if he lost his wand in the trial; would he still try and learn magic illegally or run away from the Dursleys?

Then, sometimes, ideas come to me in dreams.  Not always weird and fantastic dreams.  Occasionally, just the rough idea of the dream's actual meaning will inspire a story (no matter the length).

Of course, inspiration is everywhere, you just have to know where to look.  It just seems that for me, I find inspiration better when I'm reading.  No matter where the inspiration comes from, if my mind has been recently engaged in reading, I will find something to write about somewhere.

I suppose the moral of the story is (simple advice that every writer already knows) read, read, and then read some more.  Even if I forget it or don't always follow it, it's still good advice.
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