Where do you get Your Writing Ideas?

So I have a confession to make. Ever since I was little, maybe three or four, I’ve had really intense, very vivid, very frequent nightmares. I do have regular dreams as well, but they are always crystal-clear, like mini-movies in my head. The best way for me to break into the writing scene would be as a horror writer. The short story I wrote for the competition was from a nightmare I had two weeks ago. I would have an abundance of material. Except, I have to go through it every single night and I find I don’t want to relive it as a writer every day.


Some of my earliest memories are of the nightmares I used to have. When I was younger, I spent many, many nights afraid to go to sleep. I still have them, but they don’t bother me as much now as they used to, although I still occasionally wake up in a state of terror. Let me tell you, the dream that sparked the short story idea was pretty tame compared to some of the others I’ve had.


I’ve been told it’s a by-product of my extremely imaginative mind. That it’s a blessing and I should be grateful. Although, as a kid, it felt a lot more like a curse than a blessing. I guess occasionally it’s useful, as the novel I am starting is based on a dream I had. But I just don’t think I have it in me to be a horror writer. What about you? Where do you get your ideas?


13 thoughts on “Where do you get Your Writing Ideas?

  1. My nightmares are vivid, as well, and have been apart of my life for as long as I can remember. Heck, I figured out where Stephen King got all his ideas.

    I jot down my nightmares from time to time. Some times, I just laugh.

  2. Most of my ideas spring from my real life where I let my imagination work into setting the incidents I encounter into a parallel world and start changing and developing them into something that is utterly different from the original ideas I’d had.

  3. I wish I knew where my ideas came from! Maybe there from dreams and I just can’t remember (I haven’t been able to recall a dream since I was a small child).

    My second novel came from a random sentence I typed out while proctoring a test. I have no idea where it came from other than perhaps it dropped from the sky! Little did I know that one sentence would explode into an enormous story!

  4. Wow, it sounds sort of daunting to have to face your nightmare over and over when creating your stories.

    It sounds like such a simple question, but I’ve actually never thought about where my stories come from. I’d say most of my ideas and inspiration come from other literary writer’s stories or characters. There are themes I find I’m interested in tackling through a story, or changes a character goes through that I’m intrigued in exploring. Then I sit down to write with that premise and a story is born.

  5. I think I get them from daydreams or they just pop into my head when I hear a word or a phrase. They’re most likely to come out when I’m with a friend. I don’t usually get to recall most of my dreams. You’re lucky to be able to do that, except for the downside that they’re nightmares. At least you get a lot of ideas out of them.

  6. My dreams spark my stories and I am a horror writer. I don’t, thankfully, have bloody, gory dreams. Just dreams of being chased, then I see my character’s face and realize it’s not me. Part of the plotline, setting, etc. comes to me through them. And then there’s the creatures. It makes a great jumping off point for me when it comes to my story but if I had to experience the horror constantly and more intense than I do, I doubt I’d be writing this genre. Romance or something light, might help to introduce a healthy dose of good dreams for you. Do you watch horror? Read it? Because that might spark those nightmares. Introduce something else into your diet and maybe you’ll sleep easier. Hope that helps.

  7. I mostly get inspiration from songs for some reason. My nightmares were pretty awful when I was a kid too, but I think that’s mostly because me and my friends used to sneek horror VCR’s to watch late at night during sleepovers. Hardly unserprising that Nightmare on Elms Street caused years of night terrors! :o)

  8. I feel like I have two or three good ideas and from those ideas, I sprout out and stories and novel ideas. That’s probably not true. But maybe it stems from the old adage that there are really only… what is it?… 12 original plot lines? That always depressed me some but the plot lines are incredibly manageable: boy meets girl, adventure, journey, etc. I always wanted to create an entirely new concept. Heh. Good luck with that one, right?

  9. I’ve used dreams as fodder for my writing before, but never the really scary ones. I agree – definitely don’t want to live with that during the waking hours. I don’t know how horror writers do it.

    I get other ideas from lots of different places. The story I’m currently working on came from three writing prompts off of an RPG website. Inspiration can strike in the strangest of places. 🙂

  10. I get nightmares, too, but I have a tendency to dismiss them, once I wake up. I, too, cannot write horror, have trouble reading it, and don’t like watching it. Most of my stories come from dreams – the good kind – except for one I’m working on which was based on a recurring dream my hubby had, one of the few he actually remembered. He told me the basics of it and told me to run with it. I don’t think it evolved into the story he thought it would, but 365 pages later, I’m not turning back!

  11. I think of a lot of dreams and nightmares the same way! At the least, they can produce interesting images that allow you to create mini stories by just pondering them. Love that you’re starting a novel based on a dream you had!

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