I’ve found many ideas from watching movies or TV shows, analyzing the story-line and how many times I’ve seen it done. I’ll even start re-thinking how a new twist could be done on it. I may even sort of re-write the story in my head and find I’m going places with it that have little to do with the original story and I’ve come up with something totally new. I give the idea new life by creating new characters who are different from the show/story that inspired the concept and start running with them. Then I set about to creat a setting that seems appropriate for those people and then begin to weave the adventure/mystery into their lives.
Even if I have the main plot thought out as I get to know my characters (quirks, likes, dislikes, appearance, etc.) They will breathe further life into the story as I find out about their own backgrounds and how some of the pieces of their past directly affect how they deal with the unfolding situation they find themselves in. There are times when I’ll find myself boxed in with the storyline like scene that I have no idea where to go with next. Or perhaps I’ve just closed out a scene and I just can’t decide where to go next with the story. I of course know that long-term goal, but the intermediate scenes need more and I have to give the characters something else to do that will be relevant. On these occasions, I’ll go someplace to muse and think.
Now I live in Santa Cruz California, so I’ll head to one of the local beaches or along the cliffs overlooking the ocean where the surfers ride the waves. A person may catch my eye, or a building I’ve never really paid attention to before. My mind will either catalog that image or whatever the people might be doing as I continue to walk. As I continue I might start weaving those elements into a new scene, perhaps one I can use right away. If I can’t I slowly start to see a path where I can take the story next to reach that scene that’s unfolding inside my mind where important information or the introduction of a new danger can take place.
Recently I went to a cliff area near a marine lab that had a giant skeleton of a Grey Whale on display outside. The remains were not far from the edge of the water. Looking down over the side of the bluff, I saw tide pools, surfers, sea lions and sea otters. Soon an entire idea formed. A sea lion under attack by strange tendrils coming out of the water, a young woman rescuing it and bringing up the cliff to the lab to be cared for. A dark figure who has been stalking her following in the shadows. He hides near the whale skeleton and continues his vigil. Unfortunately, he’s spotted by a nosy reporter. Using strange powers he possesses, he animates the skeleton, seemingly bringing it to life to attack the reporter and hurl them over the edge of the cliff. (This scene appears in my 2nd novel under way as I write).
So take a walk, look around. You never know where an idea or some inspiration may be lurking. You may surprise yourself.
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