Welcome back to Chronicles & Coffee, a space for writers, readers, and book lovers!
This is a post that is a part of a thread involving all of you! Each week I post a question on Twitter and combine the answers you all give into a cohesive, observant blog post.
Today’s hot topic is:
Where do you turn to or usually find & generate your ideas for a story?
This is a loaded question, some who would say it is impossible to answer. Our ideas stem from ideas and other ideas. Ideas is a loaded word in itself. But thanks to you all, I have some answers today. Some literal and subjective, but overall, this post is a reminder to not fret over idea generating. It comes and goes in waves, our minds work distinctly from our bodies and souls, they do as they please.
Honestly, I believe that to the extreme.
Anyways, let’s get on to the answers!
The first that I would like to point out is a resource material someone mentioned, that I also use and love. The Narata Storytelling Cards! These are cards with ten categories, whether it be a type of character, conflict, event, place, theme, etc. In my experience, I use these as a stream of consciousness resource. I will pick out about five or six, each from a different category, and then use those words and ideas to form a short story. In which sometimes they spiral into great, long and complex concepts.
These cards are cool and insightful as well because under each main person, place, thing, concept, event, etc on the card, there is a box of related words underneath. Usually I make it my goal to use some of those words in the writing as well. Like a connect the dots game.
I also related to what some other writers and authors had to say. For instance, when their mind is chaotic, ideas feel as if they literally hit them. Yup, I can agree. Like a slap in the face. When you are busy with personal life, work, or creative endeavors, random ideas may generate in the middle of an activity or job.
Do not take that for granted. Open your notes app, take out a notepad or sticky note, and write it down. Those ideas are gems, priceless, and you will forget it and get frustrated with yourself. Believe me.
In regard to your mind knowing so much and going into a thousand directions at once, someone else uses this to their advantage. When they have no ‘new’ ideas, they go back to where and what they know. Picking at the brain and already known knowledge. Go back and flip through the events of the week or a childhood event. Pick apart the details of your favorite story and thing analytically about the things you already know from an entire new perspective.
Hey, type up on Google theoretical lenses and think of a single object under those different angles. You will think of it very differently.
Speaking on the resources of going back to stories, someone else said when they don’t have time to read they look up movie and book plots on Wikipedia. This is a great tool because Wikipedia is open for the public to edit, so you can learn about a plot, summary, background, educational aspects, and so much more about a book or plot from the public. These browsing techniques are amazing for those who do not have enough time to read multiple books in a month, or just a book in general. I do believe one can always make time to read, but this strategy will be helpful in formulating ideas and getting the cranks turning as you read plot after plot in a short amount of time.
Aside from stories, some people search for their dreams. Dreams and subconscious storage of them is something we all have. I like to journal my dreams when I wake up, but our minds keep a low or high complex memory box of our dreams whether we believe it or not. I believe, which may or may not be true, that if I cannot remember my dream but get a random, interesting and unique idea sometime in the near future, it is derived from that dream.
Who knows. But dreams are powerful.
Past events and creative thinking are a big helping hand. One person mentions Dungeons and Dragons. The decades of experience playing the game and strategizing creative critical story is the fallback for ideas. I have been wanting to play this for a long, long time. Hey, if you want to form a group, let me know. ;)
The last main idea was just general experiences, whether good or partially negative. Experiences and past events can be hard to think about and trace back on, so do not do it if it is not good for mental health, but a lot of people think back on their personal experiences for ideas. I can agree with this. I used an abrupt, kind of unfortunate experience in my life and altered it to a fantastical, science fictional and portal fantasy story after I was in a headspace to pick at it. It works.
I hope this was insightful for you! I will leave a link to the Narata Storytelling Cards down below because they are such great resources… and one of the only materialistic resources mentioned in this post. No gatekeeping, I am here to help.
I will talk to you soon, thank you for your constant support and involvement in the Chronicles & Coffee community! There is so much to come!