No ideas!

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • No ideas!

    Hello all,

    I am having an extremely difficult time coming up with ideas. This problem has been plaguing me for months! I have story ideas, but I cannot fully develop them, or sometimes I will just throw them out. I know you just have to get creative, but what do you guys do when you feel like you have nothing? Any excercises?

    thanks.

  • #2
    Re: No ideas!

    I have no clue what you're saying. I regularly throw away 5-6 ideas a day, after filing the 2-3 I'd like to work on someday.

    I just finished a short story I came up with the idea for in 1987. That's how far behind I am on writing all these stories.


    (Write down every single idea you ever get. Keep it in a notebook. That way, on the rare day you don't get an idea, you can go to the notebook.)

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: No ideas!

      Jumping jacks...

      I hear ya, but I have no solutions.
      "Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.-
      ― Ray Bradbury

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: No ideas!

        I agree with dc...keep an idea book.

        One thing that I do to flesh out a story is a) Take a closer look at the characters and b) research the topic.

        If I'm writing a story about a cabdriver I would research about cabbies and find some anecdotes (personal or those told by a friend of a friend). Usually ideas for scenes or subplots come from doing that.
        One meets his destiny often in the road he takes to avoid it. - French Proverb

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: No ideas!

          Go into the loglines board and work on other peoples loglines and pitches. That should help you get your creative juices flowing.

          Then throw up some of your ideas. Whether they are half baked or not. Just get them up there and let people offer their input. You will get a lot of ideas, alternate directions, etc., and that should start to spark more ideas for yourself.

          Eventually, the cream will rise to the top and you will have a solid concept or two to flesh out into a full fledged story spine.

          Studios, agencies, and prodcos all employ teams to develop stories. TV writing staffs employ spitball approaches. So why shouldn't you?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: No ideas!

            read books, read the newspaper, listen to people tell stories, watch movies, watch tv, observe life, LIVE life. get ideas for stories from all those areas, even if it's just "i want a funny guy in it like my friend chris." then you just riff off those ideas and expand on them. change the setting, change the stakes. keep asking yourself "why this? why that?"

            for example:

            last week you maybe went to a bachelor party. it was okay, not as raucous as others you've been too, but you got drunk and had a good time. so, you use that as your start.

            make the protagonist the groom and set the bachelor party somewhere interesting, like amsterdam. not overly interesting yet, so the protag needs something to do, make him an international jewel thief, and he's gotta steal a famous diamond for someone. why does he need to steal the diamond? he owes a mob boss a lot of money. what happens if he doesn't steal it? him and his future wife get cement shoes. maybe the future wife is having her hen's night in amsterdam too and they keep crossing paths.

            so this guys trying to have a good time with his friends, dodge mob guys who're chasing him, and somehow steal a diamond.

            then you start twisting the story, like the future wife is working for the police, or she's a jewel thief, and is trying to get the same diamond for similar reasons as well, but neither realises it.

            cliched up the ying-yang, and it's ended up like some bad merging of "to catch a thief" and "mr. and mrs. smith", but it gives you the general idea. take a small idea and start riffing off it and making it bigger. and if you end up with a good idea that comes off as cliched, then start subverting the cliches and turning them on their heads.

            ask yourself "what's the one movie i always wanted to see, but no one's ever made?" and use that as your starting point. generate ideas about movies you wanna see. pick your favourite genre of movies and start twisting the setups, like a zombie movie, but set in space, or a werewolf movie, but set in the old west.

            and if you're still having troubles then start combining your favourite movies:

            to catch a thief meets mr and mrs smith
            fight club meets jaws
            aliens meets pirates of the carribean
            godzilla meets the big lebowski

            it's not always gonna work, but maybe it gives you a spark of an idea that lets you riff into something else, which moves on to something else...

            the part of your brain that generates ideas is like a muscle and if you want it to get bigger then you need to keep exercising it.
            Aiming for mediocrity and falling well short =)

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: No ideas!

              I can relate. I walk around with 2 or 3 ideas for scripts. I work on the ideas as they come to me. I'm writing my third screenplay right now, and it is the 3rd idea I had. I have 2 more that I want to do, but after that, I don't have a clue. I guess something will come to me by the time I do the other 2, at least that's my hope.

              Don't trust anyone who says ideas are the easy part. Ideas are like opinions, everybody has them, but that doesn't mean they're good ones. Having a good idea for a story, I mean something that can sustain you for months and for a 100 pages, is rare. If it wasn't rare, more people would sell their work.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: No ideas!

                stop throwing them away. work on them. Force them to stretch out and bunch up. Yeah, sure they'll suck, but you'll get practice at building stories (which is the hard part).


                Welcome to the work part of fun.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: No ideas!

                  Get out and do other stuff. Because, you know that as soon as the muse strikes again you'll be holed up at the keyboard for weeks... months at a time. Family will become concerned, friends will think you've moved.

                  Serreally though, I often go to my dusty, faded "honey do" list and get some of those things done. While done those tasks, I can let my mind wander a bit (not when using powertools, or heavy equipment). Socialize with friends and assure them that you haven't moved.

                  Carry a pocket notebook. When an idea strikes, write it down.

                  I recently found such a notebook that belonged to my great granduncle ( a noted western author). He clipped descriptive lines from newspapers, things friends would say, a passage from a book. The copyrighted stuff he reworked for his stories. Some of the line his friends said I found verbatium in his books.

                  Relax and clear your mind. Best of luck with your writing.

                  Hope that helps.

                  Doug

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: No ideas!

                    Go to Dental school.

                    Just kidding.

                    Maybe.
                    "Entertaining the world is a full time, up at dawn, never ending siege, the likes of which you will never fully understand."
                    Billy Thrilly 2005

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: No ideas!

                      I go to the movies. Lately, though, that hasn't been working... .

                      I once got an idea for a short story from a throw-away line in an episode of Fantasy Island (the defunct re-issue with Malcolm McDowell, of which I loved the first couple of eppies, and then they did a rework and then it died).

                      Read The Economist. No, seriously. A lot of my writerly friends do that (and also Scientific American, but then we're sci-fi writers, so that works for us).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: No ideas!

                        I guess the hardest part isn't coming up with an idea for a story, it's committing to them and developing a whole story out of it with new ideas. Many scripts fall short due to lack of fresh ideas for their original story idea. It's an easy trap to fall into.

                        But like previous posters have said, commit to an idea and push it out. That's the only way you can develop. The easiest part is coming up with an idea for a story, the hardest part is making it work and coming up with ideas to make that story work. That's why some scripts can take years to write. You might be sitting in your car waiting in traffic, then "poof", an idea pops into your head for a dormant screenplay sitting your shelf. Get it written down.

                        IMO, you should choose an idea that has the most potential. Then simply keep asking "what-if?" questions on the story, premise, and characters. Eventually, you might develop something habronic mentioned.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: No ideas!

                          Originally posted by Doug Raine
                          I recently found such a notebook that belonged to my great granduncle ( a noted western author). He clipped descriptive lines from newspapers, things friends would say, a passage from a book. The copyrighted stuff he reworked for his stories. Some of the line his friends said I found verbatium in his books.
                          That sounds like a cool find. Would be even cooler to use some of his stuff in your own work, like your creative lineage. If it fit in, of course.
                          "Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.-
                          ― Ray Bradbury

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: No ideas!

                            Ideas are what seperates the real writer from the ones who have read all the books and thinks they are. Harsh but true. The good news is that the more you believe you are a real writer the more your subconcious recognises a good story when it pops up.
                            http://wasitsomethingiwrote.blogspot.com/

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: No ideas!

                              Great ideas aren't easy to come up with, you think anyone can just come up with 'Snakes on a Plane'???

                              I think not!

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X