Sunday, June 28, 2009

Where Do Writer’s get the Material They Write About?

Have you ever read a story and wondered how in the world did the author come up with this idea? Usually, it’s not the story that is different, but the way it is presented by the writer.

There are no dull subjects. There are only dull writers.
H.L. Mencken

A writer uses what experience he or she has. It’s the translating, though, that makes the difference.
John Irving

Personally, I myself write using the headlines of today. I also use my life experiences and the life experiences of others around me. I believe everyone should be careful of what you say or do around an author. It’s dangerous. You could end up in a book.

The man who writes about himself and his own time is the only man who writes about all people and about all time. George Bernard Shaw

I have found that if I have had a difficult relationship with someone, and they don’t want to settle our differences I can always put them in my latest book. In that way, I can show them how our disagreements should be settled.

Any writer is inevitably going to work with his own anxieties and desires. If the book is any good it has got to have in it the fire of a personal unconscious mind.
Irish Murdoch

Often a reader will get tired of a writer because they write the same story over and over. Authors only have so many stories in them before they become repetitive unless they can make some important change that makes the reader think it’s new.

I think one writes and rewrites the same book. I lead a character from book to book, I continue along with the same ideas. Only the angle of vision, the method, the lighting, change.
Truman Capote

My theory is that writers are continually learning their craft and about life. It’s the learning experience in both areas that helps change the direction of a story, but it is never going to be new because someone has done it before them.

I have a friend, T.J. Killian, who is a fantasy/sci-fi writer who admits many of her ideas originate from the Bible. Inspirational authors use the Bible as a guide for their characters.

Writers, where do you find ideas for your stories? For my readers, what would you like to see in the stories you read? Do you have any suggestions for new material?

Have a great week everyone.



diana Lambdin Meyer said...

I like this one by James Gunn:
“The writer’s genetic inheritance and his/her experiences shape the writer into a unique individual, and it is this uniqueness that is the writer’s only stuff for sale.”

kt bishop said...

Personal experience. Watching all kinds of TV shows and movies,noticing why didn't this subject get covered.

Sandy said...

Great quote, Diana.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sandy said...

K. T.,

You mean you actually find new subjects? lol
I know you did. Just kiddding.

Thanks for stopping and telling us how you come up with your ideas.

Vanessa Kelly said...

Hi Sandy,

I do take story ideas from headlines but, since I write Regency historicals, I take a lot from history and primary source materials from that period.

Great post!

Sandy said...


Thanks for stopping by.

Was history much different than our headlines?
Smile. I'm always hearing nothing's changed, so I'm curious.

Annette said...

sometimes a song can spur an idea...and I use my kids a lot! Poor things!

Carol E said...

My ideas come from all over the place! Sometimes something I see, read, or hear just clicks with me - the tunnels between the U.S. and Mexican border gave me my story idea for my first Intrigue, The Stranger and I.

Sandy said...

LOL Annette, kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews are always a great source. In Addiction, I used my great-nephew's room and bathroom to describe the little boy's room.

Thanks for stopping by, Annette.

Sandy said...


Thanks for stopping by.

I know what you mean about how things we see, read or hear can click with us.

J Hali said...

*Chuckling* I scared a friend of mine one day by saying "I'll put you in my next book if you don't shut up!" Well, knowing what I write - she shut up. LOL
Great post as always, Sandy.

Anonymous said...

My ideas usually hit me when I'm watching the Discovery Channel or strange combinations of things like maps and jewelry. Inspiration strikes me at the oddest times and I always have a notebook handy.

Great post, Sandy!


Sandy said...

Hi Joann,

Yep, those threats always scare them. lol

Thanks for stopping by.

Sandy said...

Thanks, Liena. I'll have to start watching the Discovery Channel with my hubby for inspiration. Grin.

Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn) said...

Hey Sandy

For me inspiration can come in many forms - a saying, a slogan I see, a dilemma being faced by someone I know, situations and people around me. It's basically something in my environment that then gets spun and twisted in my mind to apply to the kind of writing I do.



Sandy said...


Thanks for stopping by.

Sometimes I get my ideas from people around me, too.

Writers have many different ways of coming up with stories. I find I get my ideas from a mish mash of events in the news, life experiences and from people and situations around me.

Linda LaRoque said...

Hi Sandy,

Great post! My ideas come from dreams, life situations, and events in history. I love watching the science and history channels. My mind churns with ideas. Of course, if I don't write them down, they're forgotten.