So, you want to be a writer. Great! Not too sure why you’re looking to me for advice, but that’s okay. Even though it’s not as long as other writers, I’ve had my own history of writing and through that I’ve learned more than a few things. “But there’s a problem,” you might say. “I don’t have any ideas for what to write about.” And I’ve got only one response to that.
You heard me, that is absolute BS and you know it. Ideas are the single easiest thing to get. People have written entire books on garlic! Yes, multiple! I guess it’s a fascinating subject for some people, but I digress.
I believe everyone has an idea for at least one book. It doesn’t have to be a good idea either. Do you have an idea for a vampire romance story but feel like it’s just riddled with cliches can’t stand out among the others? Well, self proclaimed Z-list movie critic Bob Chipman (aka. Moviebob) and creator of the Game Overthinker and The Big Picture, has this this to say on the matter.
“I never tire of saying you can make a good movie out of anything… but sometimes you have to rip its guts out to do so.” –Escape to the Movies, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2
While a bit graphic, Bob does have a very good point, and it doesn’t just apply to movie making. Be it movies, games, books, short stories, whatever. Going on from the subject of Moviebob’s review, say you have your basic of basics vampire romance story and it’s just nothing more than that. Well, why not turn it on its head? You could switch the perspective around and have the vampire stewing about the moral quandaries of falling for a human, feeding upon them or even turning them, or have one of them only imagine that they’re a vampire but they’re actually just a human and crazy. Or you can have both of them be vampires pretending to be humans, have both of them be humans pretending to be vampires, the list goes on. But what if you wanted to go more over the top? What if when they went to meet the vampire’s parents/sire/whatever the actual Dracula pulls up in a hearse, goes “Bleh bleh bleeeh” and drives them up to a giant Gothic castle in the middle of say, California while blasting Monster Mash at full volume. But that’s just one idea that you could use. If you’re not fond of that well, you could probably use that book on garlic I mentioned earlier to deal with all the vampires…
But something else you might be able to use in order to create short stories are interesting twists on tropes, and the best place to find tropes that appeal to you or may be interesting to twist to suit your needs is the particularly infamous TVTropes. However the site is only infamous in the way that you’ll be spending hours of your life on the site looking up everything you’ve ever seen on the site just to see if it’s there. Spoilers: It is. If it isn’t, then your interest will ensure that it will be there soon.
But for a writer you can productively use this site to randomly browse around until you find a particular trope that appeals to you (say for example, Sealed Evil In a Can as in the famous legend of Pandora’s Box) and try a twist on it. There are many ways to interpret this trope in particular. What if the evil within had time to plan or plot its revenge and we followed them acting it out? What if it was only in stasis and returns as if nothing had happened? What if in the decades or millennia that it was sealed away it reformed but is persecuted by everyone who has heard the myth surrounding it? What if it never escapes at all? There’s a lot that can be done with this trope in particular and all that’s left to do is creating characters and a cohesive plot around the bones.
Another good method for inspiration is one that you’ve seen me do once on this blog already, which is combing through image sites for pictures to write stories on. Pivix, Google Images and other sites are all equally viable, but you’ve seen me use DeviantArt myself which has some really talented artists among all the Sonic the Hedgehog ‘original characters’. However it can be difficult to find the right image you want to write something about, but it is very entertaining to sit and just scroll through to see what genuine quality the website has to offer. Seriously, some of this stuff is absolutely amazing!
But really, inspiration can come from anywhere at any time. So if you want to write a novel but don’t know where to start, all you have to do is look around.