David Sosnowski

Where do you get your ideas?

September 26, 2011

Tags: inspiration, ideas, what-if

Happy fall!
To hear other writers on the topic, it’s easy to conclude that the single, most despised question an author can be asked is, “Where do you get your ideas?” Personally, I don’t know what the problem is. Either you can try a sincere answer, or, failing that, you can always shrug, mumble some rubbish about muses, or straight up mock the questioner by saying something like, “New Jersey.”

Me, I prefer the sincere approach. For specific works, there’s usually a specific inspiration, like a bit of a song lyric heard while driving to my day job at 5:30 in the morning, something I’ve heard a million times, but never really thought about until, one morning, I find myself mulling. That’s what a lot of inspiration comes down to in my case: mulling. I start taking an idea apart, looking at it from different angles, trying to unpack the clichés before inverting them to come up with something new. I do a lot of “what-iffing” while I’m mulling, like “What if…” people suddenly started growing wings? Or “What if…” vampires became the majority?

Or sometimes I just get mad at something I’ve seen or read. Anger is an excellent source of inspiration, particularly if it’s over a story you think was done wrong. “Well, that was just stupid,” I find myself thinking on a fairly regular basis. “What they should’ve done was…” and there I am, another story idea in the making.

So, how about you? Everybody has ideas, even if they don’t lead to stories. Where do you get your ideas? Is there anything you do, to increase the likelihood that inspiration will strike?

Selected Works

novel
"The end of the world is the weirdest time to come of age." --47North
Novel
"A witty, clever, original debut. Sosnowski writes like – well, an angel."
Kirkus Reviews
"Put Anne Rice and Mel Brooks in a blender and you'd get... Vamped."
–Mary Doria Russell

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