March 29, 2016

Where Do Writers Get Their Ideas?

By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief, Southern Writers Magazine

It is interesting to note, people want to know where writers get the ideas for the stories they write. I’ve also heard them ask that question in a slightly lower voice, as if your information is a guarded secret. Truth is many of the people asking these questions have many stories in their lives they could put to paper. Most of them however, don’t know that, and even if they did, they will tell you, “I could never write a book, I’m don’t have that talent.”

What do you say to them? Yes, you could. You might have to take some writing classes, read some books on techniques. The majority would smile sweetly and say, “Thank you, but no, I couldn’t do that.” They wouldn’t believe you. You might even tell them they just have to start writing and keep writing.

I’m not sure what it is inside that opens that portal in to believing we can do one thing and not another.

Eudora Welty said on writing, “I am a writer who came from a sheltered life. A sheltered life can be a daring life as well; for all serious daring starts from within.” One only has to read her book, The Robber Bridegroom to see her imagination in bloom and know that she looked within herself as she penned this book. She took the legend of Mike Fink, (c.1770/1780 - c.1823) who was a semi-legendary brawler and river boatman. He ran keelboats up and down the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers and incorporated him into her book.

Arthur Freed said, “Don’t try to be different. Just be good. To be good is different enough.” He wrote lyrics for numerous films.

Stephen King said, “There are lots of guys out there who write a better prose line than I do and who have a better understanding of what people are really like and what humanity is supposed to mean – hell, I know that.” Maybe there are lots of guys, yet he is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. He mesmerizes his readers and moviegoers with his words.
Louis L’Amour said, “A writer’s brain is like a magician’s hat. If you’re going to get anything out of it, you have to put something in it first” 

F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “My idea is always to reach my generation. The wise writer writes for the youth of his own generation, the critics of the next, and the schoolmasters of ever afterward.' Every writer can give advice; tell where they get their ideas. Some look within, others are people watchers, some draw from the turmoil of their personal lives while others had a caring and nurturing life. Some read many books and yet others study writing techniques. But in the end, you still have to sit down and put the words in your head on paper. 

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