“Where do you come up with your ideas?”
Harlan Ellison says he tells people that he subscribes to an idea service that mails him prompts every week.
Ray Bradbury advises writing down word-association exercises and using the results. (I tried this one year and came up with a dozen fair to fantastic short stories).
Here’s what I recommend..
What excites you? Who inspires you? What are you afraid of?
Why are you pissed off right now?
If you had the best idea ever conceived, what would it be?
What’s the worst thing you can imagine? The best?
What made you laugh today? What made you cry this year?
Write about your passions, your terrors…the things that make your mind go “bump” in the night. Every book on writing — from the half-baked to the masterful — tells you to “write from the heart.” This is what they mean.
Capture the most powerful emotions you feel. Write them down. It’s the connection between reader and writer than makes for excellent prose. Make them feel what you feel, and understand why you fell that way.
Thanks for listening.
Now go write something.