You know, whenever I’m in a public place where I hear authors answer questions from the public (aka fans), it becomes inevitable that someone will ask where that author gets his or her story ideas.
Unfortunately, that’s a loaded question. But also a simple one. Because most of our ideas come from real life. Things we see, things we hear about, people we meet.
Just the other day, a friend (and fellow writer) and I had a discussion about how fascinated we are by people’s life stories. Just as no two authors have the same success story, no two people have the same life story.
I think this is probably in large part why I write. I’m fascinated by the journeys of individual people, and this fascination, the “what if,” is what creates stories in my head. Full blown characters with full experiences that cause them to grow and learn.
It doesn’t help that I’m a people watcher. Everywhere I go, I find myself soaking people in—researching possible characters for future stories. I wonder why this person is this way, or why that person makes one choice rather than another. I wonder who they love, and who loves them, and what feels like home to them. I wonder who they are inside, and how they became that person.
Is this unusual? Does everyone do this or is it a trait unique to the creative community? I don’t know. But just in case you were wondering, my ideas all come from watching and experiencing life in all its many glorious forms.
So, you know. Keep on living, keep on dreaming, and if by chance you notice a writerly-type person observing you, consider it a compliment. It’s because you’re interesting.