Many authors say when they rock up for an author talk, then open up for questions, they always get the one - 'Where do you get your story ideas from?' Well, there are as many answers to that as there are ideas. For me, I have ideas all the time, it's reeling one in and seeing it through to its conclusion that's the problem! So my interest was piqued when I came across this book by Celia Johnson: Dancing With Mrs Dalloway: Stories of the Inspiration Behind Great Works of Literature.
I'll share a few to inspire you:
- The Hobbit: J.R.R. Tolkien was grading college exam papers and came across a gloriously blank sheet. Tolkien wrote down the first thing that randomly popped into his mind: 'In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.' He had no idea what a hobbit was or why it lived underground, and so he set out to solve the mystery.
- Treasure Island: Robert Louis Stevenson painted a map to pass the time during a dreary vacation in the Scottish Highlands. When he stepped back to admire his handiwork, a cast of imaginary pirates appeared. Stevenson recalled: 'They passed to and fro, fighting and hunting treasure, on these few square inches of a flat projection.' He promptly traded his paintbrush for a quill and began to write.
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: On an otherwise ordinary day, C.S. Lewis was seized by a peculiar daydream. A frazzled creature, half-man and half-goat, hurried through snowy woods carrying an umbrella and a bundle of parcels. Lewis had no idea where the faun was heading, but the image was still with him when, at age 40, he finally put pen to paper to find out.
- Rip Van Winkle: Washington Irving was suffering writer's block. His brother in law, Henry Van Wart, was cheering him up by reminiscing about childhood adventures in the Hudson Highlands. In the middle of the conversation, Irving dashed out of the room. The next morning, he emerged with a new story inspired by the talk.
- One Hundred Years of Solitude: Gabriel Garcia Marquez was driving his family to Acapulco for a vacation. As he gripped the steering wheel, the opening line to a novel popped into his head. He threw his foot on the brake, turned the car around, and cut the trip short to work on the rest of the story.
- Where do you get your ideas from? Please share with us...Do the planets have to be aligned or do you just go for it?