Something writers get asked often is where we get our ideas from. It’s different for all of us. For me, I get inspired by nearly everything. I’ll watch a documentary and suddenly the synapses in my brain are coming up with snippets that could go in a story. I may not have the other pieces to make a full story yet, so I file it away.
Life is inspiring. Every event you attend can bring you ideas. If you stay holed up in your house and avoid meeting new people, you limit yourself.
Going on a trip, even within your own province, changes the scenery and suddenly you’re surrounded by different people. Maybe you’re all united by a common activity such as a martial art, but you’re all different in how you talk and socialize. You may be at a table with doctors, artists, security guards, counselors, engineers, IT workers, teachers, accountants, Buddhist priests, students, park rangers, interpreters, etc. And they may be from Canada, the US, the UK, France, Chile, Japan, etc.
Sometimes I’ll touch an object and get an idea that helps me flesh out a character.
With screen writing, I’m finding watching movies and anime to be helpful. Some shots are simply of a boat crossing sunlit waters for however long the director wanted it to be. But those images can add so much to the story. Movies and TV are a more visual medium than a novel. I’ll often check what others have done in order to pick up other ways of getting my messages across.
Allowing yourself to feel can inspire you to create works that emotionally connect with other people. Connecting with others is one of the main purposes of creating any kind of art. Another purpose is to say what others find too difficult to say.
Art mimics life. This means that while some people use a lot of ums and ahs while speaking, it doesn’t mean we should put an extreme amount of it in our dialogue. We want to take enough from life that our characters feel real, but not waste too many pages on meaningless drivel. I find this easier to accomplish in a screenplay because every word needs to have more impact.
Sometimes ideas come from reading about problems like pollution. Some of Miyazaki’s work is obviously commenting on environmental issues. But how do you become passionate enough to be inspired to take up a cause? Often it finds us. Having experienced a variety of health challenges, sometimes I put something in my stories to provoke thought on a subject like food allergies. I also have ideas pertaining to family secrets that I plan to explore eventually. These are stories that are so particular to me that it would be hard for someone else to write about them.
You can also use plot generators, character generators, etc.
In short, I feel inspiration finds you when you least expect it, much like your soul mate does. Simply writing this post has given me ideas for one of my stories. How it will take shape is anyone’s guess, but I think it’ll be a fun addition.