Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of people talk about how they would like to write a story, but they don’t have any good ideas and don’t know how to come up with them. This is a pretty weird thing for me to hear, becuase I come up with ideas all day, every day, and I will definitely never be able to get around to them in my lifetime. I have an entire word document (and a text document, and random notes in a Google doc) full of ideas, plot points, characters, etc. that I’ve never been able to use.
So where do my story ideas come from? Well…everywhere.
Sometimes I’ll watch a movie, and think it could have worked better if it had gone in a different direction.
Sometimes I’ll read something that was so poorly made that I get offended and set out to create a better version.
Sometmes I’ll read about a historical event, and wonder how something similar would work in a similar setting, or what would could happened had things gone differently.
Inspiration is literally everywhere! Ideas are a dime a dozen.
I’ve also found that “ideas” are given a lot of weight that they really shouldn’t have. This, I think, comes from non-writers more than it does from writers, and all it’s really done is discourage people from writing because they think their ideas are too similar to prior work, or too derivative.
An idea may be the inspiration for a story, but it’s barely anything. The “idea” isn’t what makes a story good – it’s execution! If you give ten different writers the same prompt (the “idea”), you’ll get ten different stories. Good stories, bad stories, all sorts of stories in between. Ideas are not what make stories great. Really!