Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015. Orono, Maine.
Any way possible, of course.
Which can mean anything, right?
Some of my stories come from dreams. I certainly have messed up dreams sometimes. Don’t we all? I take what I can remember and create a story from it. Sometimes I like the outcome and decide I want to publish it. Other times, I scrap it. Or tuck it away to try again another time – say, in a few years.
Yup. I have stories here and there that I wrote years ago. Generally partially written. I might decide to work on them at some point. In fact, when ever I have a new idea for one of those unfinished stories, I write it down and add the note to the story folder. I wouldn’t want to lose a gem of an idea just because I’m not working on the story at that time.
Sometimes I’ll be watching or reading something, and the scene will seem off to me. I’ll take that scene and rewrite it how I think it should have been. These rewrites make it into some of my stories. I keep them all, just in case, throwing them out as I use them. Note: I use different situations that in what I was watching or reading, different characters, etc.
I walk. A lot sometimes. It is a great way to clear your mind, freeing it for important and creative things. I’m more creative after a good walk. During these walks, my mind takes me through what I want to do for my writing venues. Where fiction is concerned, I play out scenes in my head. Why? To figure out how a part of a story should be written. Sometimes I come home from a walk and write for hours.
I watch people as well. Not in a creepy I’m going to stare at you for hours kind of way, but I take notice. I listen to how they talk; their accent, tone, way of getting their point across. I notice the way they stand and walk, their style, what they’re reading or the music they are listening to. I see their quirks. I don’t base characters on solely one person, but on aspects of more than one.
There is a sweet little old lady on my bus sometimes, who looks exactly like I had pictured for one of my characters. I wrote that story and pictured that character months before I saw the lady for the first time. She is perfect.
I wrote a story called Dead People after a time change and an early morning ride on the city bus. Hopefully I’ll get the ebook done this year for you to enjoy. I walked onto that bus and some of the people looked close to death, lol. That scene spawned the story. At work I wrote notes for the story in between other tasks, and then took the notes out at a time when I could concentrate on the story long enough to write the whole thing. I did have it up for a while on another site, so some of you may have read it already. I’m editing it and getting it ready for ebook publication.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright April 2016. Fiction journal.
At times, things just pop into my head. Often, but not always, completely off-the-wall things. I take notes, and put the notes in my fiction journal when I get home. This journal is almost full with writing prompts and notes. I’ll be needing a new one soon.
Which brings me to writing prompts. I search them out. I love them. Story starters, first sentences, and other writing prompts are wonderful. Sometimes I use more than one prompt in a story, if they match up well, or create a series of stories based on a variety of prompts that, when brought together from different sources, lend themselves to the task.
When I want to write a new story, and I don’t know what I want to write about, I read through the journal. When entering an idea or prompt, I make note next to it if there is another somewhere in the book that would also go well in the story or a series. I keep track. Doing so is helpful.
For instance, I’m working on a series of stories that might actually be longer than short stories. This series wont be ready for a long time but, before I started the first story I went through my journal from front to back, reading through all the prompts and notes. Anything I thought I’d use in the series was written down and added to the series folder, and crossed off my prompts journal. If I don’t use all the prompts, the ones that don’t fit well with the series will be entered back into the journal and maybe used at another time. Will I use all the prompts in the journal? Maybe. Maybe not. At least I have interesting ones on hand when I need them.
I don’t write all the prompts I come across in my journal. Only the ones that seem interesting.
Story ideas come from many places, if you know to watch for them.
Writing your own stories? Check out my reviews for these writing prompt books:
1,000 Awesome Writing Prompts
1,000 Creative Writing Prompts Volume 1 – Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More
1,000 Creative Writing Prompts Volume 2 – MORE Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More
And check out these writing prompts by me 🙂