Where do I get my ideas from?


I’m not too sure where they come from. But when an original ‘idea’ appears, it just seemingly sprouts from my mind.


I can definitely tell an organic sprout to one that I’m intentionally trying to make. It’s just not the same. Too . . . fake? Or maybe to me, it seems too contrived? I think that is the word. But I can tell that it is not original or as good as other stories. They are the ones that I push to the side in favour of others.

How these ideas come to me is a bit of a mystery. I think it might be a combination of my personality, imagination and how I see the world. In the last few years since I’ve stepped up my writing and developed my critical eye, I’ve taken to having the opinion that a lot of YA novels have a premise that I would never pick because it just seems too implausible. I’m more of a grounded reality type of storyteller. Which I know is a bit off seeing as I write fiction.

Besides the fact that I really enjoy writing, I think that fact that I also use it as a means of understanding the world around me is a great influence. Because to write characters and stories one has to know the world somewhat.

When should you ditch a story?


To date, all the stories I wrote for my uni assignments have remained untouched on my USB since graduation. It’s been around five years now and I know that I might never go back to them. And that’s ok. There are a quite a few reasons why I’m probably not going to bother with them and they are:

  • I don’t like them (I wrote them to criteria guidelines and not entertainment).
  • There are other stories I like more or think are worthwhile writing.
  • I know they are bad (Bad, being plot).

Some time ago I opened a short 2,500 word story and tried to see if I could make it worthy of self-publishing. It turned out that my first ever story I wrote for uni was pretty effing terrible. No wonder I barely passed that class. I could make the sentence structure better, but I couldn’t get over the plot holes and it was cliched as hell. Give me an award for reaching the cringe-worthy level of over 9000!

I also have other stories that are not from uni that are currently dormant because I’ve been neglecting them for a variety of reasons;

  • They’ve got a good base, but need more attention and ideas added.
  • More recent stories are taking up my spare time and my growth as a writer has improved their first draft quality to the point of encouragement.
  • Something about it just doesn’t seem right and I can’t quite put my finger on it (Trust your gut guys and move onto something else in the meantime).

What I was interested in a few years ago has changed and it will probably change again. One of the biggest things I can say to other people would be if you think something is not right about your story then you’re on to something. Notice I said not right instead of wrong? That’s because there are more than one way to tell a story or write a novel.

When you come to a place like this, it is best that you take a break of however long you think you might need for you to wrap your head around it. Be it a few hours to a few weeks. I like to think of my stories as I’m working behind the bar at work. It gives me time to plan what I think are the best routes to take. Personality wise, I’m more of a ‘take my time to plan’ instead of rush ahead because I’ve learnt that it is how I make mistakes.

That being said, some stories are just bad through and through. Even as a child I was picking up on things in books that disrupted the entire reading experience. Whether it be a single sentence of being preached to or a single word that is the wrong tense (These were from traditionally published books too). You could have a decent story, but a book’s sense of verisimilitude is just as important. And this could be the thing that doesn’t make it worthwhile and you have to ask yourself, Should I go back and try to fix or just ditch? And the answer is yours and what you think is best for you.

Reading other’s bad reviews helps me

Sometimes I like to read bad book reviews so I know what people hate about a particular story. Is it the characterisation, verisimilitude, basic sentence structure? Then I imagine that my books are getting these reviews and it prompts me to work harder so I don’t end up creating such a mess. I would be so embarrassed to have spent so much time on a story and publish it only for it to be completely shit.

Stick by your dreams

Stick by your dreams

(I forgot where I sourced this image from)

To fellow writers and artisans if you ever feel doubt setting in don’t listen to it. If your dream is to write a novel, paint a picture, sculpt a figure, or even build a thing, then don’t give up on it.

Just because that one or those multiple people didn’t like your creative work doesn’t mean it’s bad. Just because you think that piece of work you created is bad doesn’t mean it’ll all be bad.

For people who have a calling to the creative industries or any industry for that matter never let doubt, whether it is yours or someone else’s stop you. If you want to succeed in a creative industry remember that times can and will be tough. And the money may not be all that great, but then you wouldn’t have committed to such an endeavor if money was your reward.

But the reward of creating something that is appreciated by other people is something different. They might not understand the full depth of your work but it doesn’t matter. They appreciate it for their own reasons.