Where do you get your inspiration for stories?

(Started by Emma Baird)

9 thoughts on “Inspiration

  1. Emma Baird
    I do a lot of research for my day job and that often inspires me. For example, recently I was researching historical records that have just been digitised and the fascinating line – Richard Sturdy, John Cartman and Rich’d Sturdy: “poisoned by neglect of a servant girl in making a pudding”, proved too difficult to resist. What about you?

  2. Eric Smith
    Just a few…

    1. Personal life experiences–current or way, way back
    2. Dreams
    3. People watching–I assess their clothing, tattoos, and piercings; listen to their vocabularies and accents; and then imagine scenes from their lives
    4. I imagine a film I’d like to see–place, characters, plot–and then pretend I’m writing a script for it

  3. Russell Conover
    Personally, I love taking everyday situations and finding something humorous in them to focus on. Going to the bank, spending time with families/pets, eating meals, going on vacation … they all seem pretty mundane–UNTIL I find something (often unexpectedly) funny within the topics.

    I also enjoy the suspense genre. I’ve been working on a full-length story for some time, and making progress on it feels great. For “scary stories”, I again try to envision everyday situations .. but then I make them go awry somehow with the unexpectedly frightening. I don’t have as much experience in this type of writing, but I really enjoy it.

  4. Gordon Lawrie
    Where do I start on this one?

    A bit of everything that’s gone before, I suppose. I can’t honestly say my life’s been sufficiently exciting or dramatic enough to allow me much scope there, although, like Eric, I can dream plenty. My dreams offer me my best chance of winning the Open Golf Championship, for instance.

    Two of the best writers I’ve ever come across have been Alan Bennett and Joyce Grenfell, both of whom used everyday conversations they’d overheard (Bennett’s still going) in a funny context. It’s the Monty Python secret, too: women in a launderette discussing their philosopher husbands – “Jean-Claude and Betty-Muriel”, bowler-hatted civil servants with silly walks, that sort of thing.

    Life imitates fiction, of course. I have TWICE done this, the second time only a few months ago with a mince curry. Here’s Joyce if you’ve never seen her.

  5. Jane Reid
    Inspirations? Everyday situations, something I’ve read which starts me down a new (often unrelated) track, putting a twist on something familiar, or some characters I’ve used before refuse to die quietly but continue to have adventures.

    I rarely use actual situations, however, I’m still looking for a story to use a wonderful line I heard in real conversation; the story hasn’t come to me yet.

    And yes, Emma, I used stories as protagonists back when we were awaiting reaching the 1,000 mark . As I recall, some stories carried picket signs. while others begged to be counted …

  6. Emma Baird
    Sorry Jane for forgetting your stories as protagonists! I once overheard someone say “who shat in her cornflakes?” and I’ve since used that sentence. I also travel by train a lot and potential for eavesdropping offers up many gems.

  7. Amy Friedman

    I get my inspiration all over the place. Sometimes it’s as mundane as an allergy attack, other times it comes from stories from others, and sometimes I just get a wild hair idea and I see where it goes. Once my inspiration came from a conversation with a coworker. What emerged had nothing to do with her or the conversation, but the story might not have existed without the particular inspirational chat.

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