Where to Get Ideas for Your Story

Okay, I listened to what everyone was saying. I’ve been reading a lot, especially in the genre I want to write.  I also read anything I could get my hands to like catalogues in my mailbox and old local papers that were left in the shop’s windows. There are stories and countless advice on the internet too. I’ve learnt to keep a pen and papers handy in case I need them. 

After all these preparations, I started wondering what to write and where I should get those bits and pieces of ideas for my story. I was like a tradie equipped with tools but no place of work to go.

So, I went surfing. The “net” is very friendly and has so much to share. Some said I could get ideas just by simply listening in to people talk. Anywhere – in the bus, train, shopping centre, at the coffee shop, or even eavesdrop on people talking on their mobile phones. People speak too loudly while on their mobile phones. Don’t they irritate you sometimes?

I tried the train. It was easy and not very much people use the train after peak hours. After moving around seats and looking for the right spot, I finally found one near the window. A couple sitting behind me were talking to each other. Perfect! It was true, there were nuggets of ideas you could get from people like the words they say, or even what they were talking. So, I took my pen out and my notebook ready.

I pressed myself close to the back of my seat so I could hear them very well. They even whisper but I managed to pick some words, so I started jotting them down one by one.

For me to understand them very well, I closed my eyes, trying to listen very carefully on what they were saying. I wanted to capture every word, every pause, and even their breathing.

What I didn’t realise was, two young girls sat in front of me. They giggled and commented that I was probably so tired, I fell asleep writing notes. I kept my eyes closed and pretended to be asleep. I want to hear everything they were saying about me.

They argued that I was either a teacher or a reporter, or if not, I am a train inspector. Gosh! Really? Then, they started to pick on my looks. They talked about my make-up. Funny, girls always look at the make-up first before anything else. (I wonder what boys look at first, hmm!)

There was total silence after that.

Suddenly, I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder, and a tall guy in blue asked me which station I was getting off. Apparently, it was the last station. I looked around, and there was no one except me. Before I got off, he commented, that I was probably very tired, I fell asleep writing notes. Really? Did I? Has it been that long?

It was a long ride back home, but I still have my pen and notebook with me. This time, I was writing down everything I heard and everything that I could remember from those girls. There was some funny stuff, and I giggled too, especially how they argued about it. There were a few slang words that I did not understand, but I could check them out with my children.

I realised that I could find ideas for my book anywhere, even by just looking at myself in front of the mirror.

I could also cultivate story ideas from my spontaneous trip and experience at the train.

If we know where and how to gather information, we will never run out of materials to write.

Sometimes, hanging out with people, even any brief interaction to strangers can give us tons of ideas for our writing project.

Don’t forget too that good old newspapers we used to love to read. It still provide us buckets of information about the daily happenings and incidents in our community.

And lastly, check your favourite book. There maybe a chapter or passages that you like so much, and write down what made you love that story. Use it to come up with your own materials for your story.

My writing journey was not easy and was not hard either, but there were so much to learn and a few things to laugh about.

It wasn’t all hard work, but with a little bit of funny stuff on the side as well. All in all, dedication, tons of imaginations, and commitment kept me from doing what I love to do most.

I am not done yet, but I am learning so much.

So, till next time. I’ve got to catch the bus this time. Fingers crossed, I’ll try not to fall asleep again.

See ya!

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