The Mysterious Getting of Ideas

One of the most common questions writers get is about their ideas: where they get them, what they are doing when they get them, and why they get them.

As far as I can tell, the getting of ideas is a very mysterious process. Everyone wants to know about it. Well, my friends, I’m here to give you some answers. I’ve asked the question so you don’t have to.

Where do the Pub Crawl girls get their ideas?


savannah pic 2011I stare at this until I get an idea. Or else writers have a special, secret telepathic connection to the invisible Room of Ideas where ideas are just floating around, and eventually one snags on your thoughts and presto! Fully formed plot you just have to write down.


Erin BowmanI gave myself a Time-Turner. Future Me peeks at my finished books and sends ideas back to by owl. It’s rather efficient.


Marie SquareI like to get new ideas by looking at the burn patterns on my toast. The last piece of toast I toasted looked like either a dolphin, or a pith helmet. Dolphins with pith helmets. Win!


Susan DennardMy dogs are actually the creative forces behind my novels. They dictate the books to me, and all I do is type it. Then, of course, I have to translate it from Canine, but that’s a pretty mindless process if you’re fluent (although, lemme tell you: present perfect continuous verbs do get a bit tricky).


Leigh BardugoI beat my ideas out of orphans.


Amie KaufmanAs for my ideas, no orphans here! I’m no good at making gruel, and those crazy kids always want more. I go in for tea leaves most days, and if I’ve got something that requires extra inspiration, like a trilogy, then there’s this whole process involving a staircase, a chalk circle, a chewy caramel and gazelle, but I have a patent pending on that so I can’t disclose all the details. Suffice to say you REALLY want to get it right, or you end up scraping caramel off your gazelle for days.


Kat SquareEvery time I need new story ideas, I sing and the little woodland critters bring them to me.


Jodi Hi-Res SquareMy best ideas all came from the legions of stuffed animals I kept on my bed as a kid. The stuffies would crowd around my head at night and whisper stories.

There you have it! The mysterious process of getting ideas? UNVEILED.

Now you tell us: Where do you get ideas?


23 Responses to The Mysterious Getting of Ideas

  1. Julie Mar 27 2012 at 8:14 am #

    I’ve been staring at that image Savannah shared and I’ve already discovered 50 new ideas! Thanks! 🙂

    • Jodi Meadows Mar 27 2012 at 3:39 pm #

      Isn’t it mesmerizing? I keep staring at it, too!

  2. Erin Bowman Mar 27 2012 at 9:40 am #

    Leigh’s answer still sends me into a fit of uncontrollable laughter.

  3. Samantha Arnold Mar 27 2012 at 10:36 am #

    I close my eyes and I watch a story unfold itself. I daydream alot too. 🙂

    • Jodi Meadows Mar 27 2012 at 3:39 pm #

      Oooh, that’s a nice one! Daydreaming is popular. 🙂

  4. Amber Mar 27 2012 at 12:45 pm #

    You ladies are cracking me up with these answers! If stuffies came around my bed and whispered stories, I’d probably scream.

    I have a special technique I guess you’d say to getting ideas and I’ve been doing it since I was a kid. When I was little my dad has this huge stereo system and he would play records for hours upon hours. I don’t know why I started it, but soon you’d catch me walking around the coffee table for hours, sometimes singing sometimes mumbling, but mainly I was making up stories in my head. At first my dad thought maybe I had something wrong with me, but they just deemed me a weirdo and left it alone. I still do it today anytime I need to start a story or if I’ve hit a brick wall. Music goes on and I start pacing and I don’t stop until something comes out of it.

    • Jodi Meadows Mar 27 2012 at 4:12 pm #

      Wow, now that is unique! Hey, whatever works!

  5. Kat Zhang Mar 27 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    Hehehehe! I’m so glad you asked this question, Jodi!

  6. katherine s Mar 27 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    I love all the answers….too funny! I get my ideas from everyday life. The image Savannah shared is amazing.

    • Jodi Meadows Mar 27 2012 at 4:13 pm #

      Yes! Real life does provide many, many ideas. 🙂

  7. April Tucholke Mar 27 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    “Tis nothing better than an orphan for fictional notions.” -Charles Dickens

  8. Angelica Mar 27 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    Lol. The answers crack me up! How I get my ideas are a little less… dramatic. They usually hit me fully formed start to finish when I least expect it; in the middle of work, when I’m driving, when I’m in the shower, etc. It’s like a little mini movie inside my head that’s played at warp speed. I then have the daunting task of writing down as much as I can, as quickly as I can to reconstruct what I “saw” before it all disappears off into the ether to be snatched up by another author.

    My stories also come to me when I think of a “what if” question and then allow the plot bunnies to graze at it for a while before gently plodding into the unknown. Those are the stories that usually lose steam halfway through and they remain unfinished in the folder labelled “graveyard” ^_^

    • Jodi Meadows Mar 27 2012 at 4:14 pm #

      It’s amazing how many stories there are in laundry and showers. I’m beginning to think it’s some kind of cleaning conspiracy…

  9. Erica Mar 27 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    I usually take a drive and I hear the stories in the cars whooshing past. 😀

  10. Stephanie Allen Mar 27 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    I take a shower.

    No, really.

    • Jodi Meadows Mar 28 2012 at 11:58 am #

      Showers are one of the best places to get stories. True fact.

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