Image from WikiMedia by Simon Eugster.

With National Novel Writing Month fast approaching, I’ve been thinking about where ideas come from.

Not long ago, I was talking about how a writer might come up with ideas, because of a comment exchange I had with another blogger. One of the first things you need for NaNo, after all, is an idea. You can write a romance about star-crossed hamsters, a YA set in high school, or a classic knight’s quest–anything and everything, but you need the idea first.

Sometimes inspiration is that lucky bolt out of the blue, but usually it’s work. My method is simple, but effective. I like to write things down, so I’ll make a random list of ideas I like–characters, setting, events, etc. Just shake everything out of the brain and leave it on the page. Then, look at that pile, and pick something(s).

For example… for characters, you could do witches. Witches are fun. And seasonal! For setting, you could choose, say, the sea. I love the waves.

Then the fun bit–putting together the puzzle. Building the world. You ask yourself questions, and you answer them. You have the power!

So what would witches on ships do? Do they travel to distant lands? Do they cast navigation spells? Fill the sails with wind, or power engines? Maybe attack other ships? They could be pirates. Pirate witches, fighting other witches–casting spells across the water, sinking ships, and claiming loot.

…now I want to write a story about witch pirates’ battles.  (Maybe I will, though not next month!)

Does anyone use a similar method? If not, what works for you?

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

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