How Do You Come Up With Creative Ideas?

I once got a “C” on a one page story we were supposed to write creatively. Don’t ask me why I got a “C” on it. She never said. But, apparently she didn’t creatively like my creative story.

That was a long time ago, and now, I might even think it sucked and not even worth the mark that I got. But, it was my story. My story. My thoughts and feelings about whatever the story was about.

I’m not sure what some of you do to come up with your creative ideas, but I use experiences from my real life to add “flavour” to my novels. For example, in my Fantasy Romance novel, “The Bracelet”, I used an experience from the first house my husband and I owned.

In this little house, there was a ghost (I’m not kidding) that would tuck us in at night. Of course, in my novel, I had to make the character real, so therein it became a fantasy.

In my Paranormal Romance novel,  “Remember The Eyes”, I used a past life dream that I had in real life as a past life dream for my main female character. Of course, I embellished it a little to make it more interesting, but those were my experiences.

I’ve gotten some of my ideas from music, from other books that I’ve read and from real life. I never use real people that I know in my novels and I usually don’t use the name of someone I know in one of my novels either. I would tend to associate that character with my real life friend if I did. Plus, there are so many names out there, I think you can find a name for a character that you don’t know.

I try to come up with names for places that are obscure, most often street names end up becoming the towns name. Same with people’s names. I often look up in the phone book for names and I have a bunch of name sites that I go to. For my fantasy novel, I used several name sites online to come up with the weird names often needed in fantasy novels.

So how do you come up with your creative ideas? Why did you write the novel/story that you wrote?

A few of our members have added how they came up with their creative ideas.

Karla wrote: My main character, Maggie has an unnatural fear of small designer dogs. Her story of Dolce and Gabbana (the Shih Tzus from hell) comes from my own experience. I was a nervous wreck after I left a high stress job. Now being umemployed, I agreed to babysit my daughter’s two dogs while she was away.

I felt like I was on the verge of a panic attack all night – shaking, sweating, trying not to hyperventilate. Meanwhile, I wanted to assure the smaller of the two that I would protect him from his bullying brother. I told Coga he could get on the bed, then the little wretch growled at me when I tried to get in. Once he let me in, we got settled and I whispered reassurances while stroking him. He chose that moment to stick his foot in my eye. I didn’t have a panic attack, but I think of how desperate I felt every time I see Coga.

In real life, it turns out that I was having a reaction to some medicine I had just started. In Maggie’s case, she had a panic attack, which then imprinted her anxiety on all froo-froo dogs.

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Erin wrote: I don’t fall asleep well and never have. So I spent a good part of my childhood staring into the dark and making up stories in my head before I would finally be able to sleep. Even now with family, a full time job and far too many hobbies I still spend nights watching the movies I make up in my head.

The big project I am working on is a Time Travel series called the Viator Legacy where the characters are born with the ability to travel through time. Adventure ensues and things blow up. This is pretty much how I like my stories. And all of this started because I lay in bed at night dreaming about what I would do if I had my favorite super power–Time Travel. It gives me shivers thinking about it. I can’t wait to figure out where we’re going to travel to next.

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April wrote:  The reasons behind my book of poems that I’ve published is because I wanted to show the world how I see the world–so beautiful, of love and life. I wanted to bring the beauty of the world that I see to everyone.

I also had poems in there, as well, that were about domestic violence, to help raise awareness about it.

I’m writing a romance novel because I’m a hopeless romantic and thought it could be fun to write it. I also hope to bring a fun and good reading experience to readers by writing this book.

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The Desert Rocks wrote: I worked many long years in the newspaper advertising business(25) and I noticed Hollywood constantly glamorizing the reporters, but not really paying attention to the people who were important. Without graphic artists and advertising folks there could not be a newspaper because advertising pays for the presses. 

That gave me the idea that I have to be the one who writes about this subject. My book is women’s fiction-a romantic story about a graphic artist who gets confused and lost because she doesn’t know how to communicate very well. As soon as she’s lost, all my other characters are in huge trouble and that starts a big search for her that almost ends in disaster. The setting takes place mostly in Hawaii and a volcano erupts, planes are diverted and postponed, cell phone reception is horrible and just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does.

It’s my first novel and I have to say most of my writing success in my life has been with poetry or advertising copy, so I sure hope it sounds like something people will read. I’m calling it Penniless Hearts after my main character Penny, but I’ve heard that publishers might change the name. I’m still revising it though and I’m not ready to let it out of my hands just yet. I chose Hawaii as the setting because my husband and I were married there, on royal sacred grounds where the King of Hawaii, ( King Kamehameha was made king.) Aloha!

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Norma wrote:  I get ideas for my books in all kinds of places. For Chasing the Wind, it was a story on the news about human cloning. For Final Hours, the Apophis asteroid. For my first published novel, Dance of the Gods, it was a story on the evening news about a small boy in Italy who had fallen down a well. There was a monumental effort to save him, media coverage from all over the world. The rescue effort lasted for several days…until they determined that there were no longer any signs of life in the well. It was heartbreaking.

Collin was only two then, and I connected to the story as a mother. I couldn’t imagine how any parent could deal with such a thing. And I began to wonder…what if?What if the child had somehow survived? What if he had been rescued from another direction, unknown to his parents or anyone else involved? What if whoever found him had lost their own child? What if he’d grown up not remembering who he really was? And what if someone finally uncovered the truth? What if he began to have flashes of memory that made no sense, until….

I’ve planned another blog, a part two of this one, to connect with the other members of the WMD team. As you can see, ideas come from anywhere. Real life, tv, books, music. The ideas are limitless…so why do we get writers block sometimes?

Well, I think that’s a whole other topic for another blog.

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About Beth Muscat

I'm a wife, mother, writer and a blogger. I have five novels published at Amazon.com and a couple more in the works right now. I've got so many great friends that have helped me achieve my writing goals, and I've still got a lot to learn. They're all terrific people, some of them bestselling authors and some just starting out like me. I've got five books out as e-books: 1. "Wildflower" is a Contemporary Romance, a sexy love story about a younger man and an older woman 2. "Remember The Eyes" is a Paranormal Romance, and Book One in a series. 3. "Nothing Without You" is Book Two 4. "Infinite", is Book Three. Each book revolves around Riley and Michael, the love they share together and even the discoveries made with each other. 5. "The Bracelet", a Fantasy Romance about a woman torn between two worlds.

26 thoughts on “How Do You Come Up With Creative Ideas?

  1. My ideas come from so many places. Sometimes I have a crazy dream that I think might make a good story. Other times someone asks me a question that makes me look at something a new way and it turns into a story. And sometimes my weird brain just comes up with things that I can’t resist writing down.

  2. Great post and very interesting. I love the story from the news idea Norma it sure sounds like one that is limitless and the ghosts that tuck you in Beth, the stories in Erin’s head, Karla’s reaction to medicine, and April spreading awareness about domestic violence all sound better than that Eve girl’s strange ideas….You are a very talented group of writers, and I look forward to reading your books or at least seeing them on the NY Times Bestseller list.

  3. Wonderful post! Isn’t it amazing how many ideas are out there? The human mind is a miraculous thing. We can all see the exact same thing, but not one of us would write the exact same thing.

  4. I was always puzzled by people who said they had trouble getting an idea for a story. I describe story ideas as a constant snow squall, swirling around me like a blizzard, just waiting to be picked out of the air.

  5. Tried to give you a like, but the password didn’t work. lol This was interesting, Beth. I guess writers are daydreamers AND nightdreamers.

  6. I’ve no idea where they come from. From the void. From something we can’t see, touch, or hear. But inside my head, the voices, the faces, they speak and act things out. The sparks come, and I’m off to either write it down or use my recorder. It’s never ending. One book melds into the next. I can never find anything else that realeases so much pleasure when I get to write these things down. I’m just happy to be able to.

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