Where do you get your ideas?

Ideas come from anywhere and everywhere. They are whispers of past events, and the imagining of things that could be. Sometimes they are smudged images of the truth, other times they seem to materialize from thin air.

A few years before writing “Bitter, Sweet,” I came across a newspaper article that caught my attention. I clipped it and put it in a folder for later reference. I imagined that one day this article would be the inspiration for a short story I would write but other than a certain event that had taken place I knew nothing else. Every so often I’d come across the article, read the headline, and file it away (always with the thought that something similar was going to happen in a future story.) I wasn’t worried; I had plenty of other things to work on.

Then one day Pru Burbidge whispered in my ear. I thought she had given me the first line for a short story. Turns out it was really the first line of chapter three, only I didn’t know that at the time. As I continued to write I began to see that somewhere further on these four kids were going to get into a whole lot of trouble and I even had the newspaper clipping as proof!!

At the time I wrote “Bitter, Sweet” I was working every day so I’d take along a notebook and pen. At break time I’d jot down what Pru had to say hoping that by the time I got home, and was finally ready to sit down and write, she would still be willing to tell me her story. I’m glad she didn’t bail out on me!! Her voice came so easily; it was as if she was patiently waiting for me to start writing her story.

Where do ideas come from? The ideas for writing fiction are born from tears, fears, joy and laughter. It is a scraping together and melding of the tiny scraps that makes up real life. It is inspired from the past, present and future– not only of our own but others’ as well. It is an assortment of random thoughts that spring from somewhere within us just begging to be heard.

Leave a comment


  1. Melanie M.

     /  July 5, 2009

    First line of chapter three, huh? I’ll have to remember that!!


  2. What a nice post, Laura! this is something I think about quite often actually. I like your reference here to the story you put away that served as a source of inspiration some time later. Time is no element…


  3. Thanks Jennifer. I love looking for articles that peak my interest. Real life is so interesting and filled with such potential. A little imagination can go a long way.


  4. Lynn

     /  December 23, 2009

    Hi Laura,

    As you can see, since meeting you in November, I am going back over your past posts for a second time, but this time I am replying to a few. I am finding it to be inspirational reading what you have written.

    My first writing, that I can recall, came about as a result of a school assignment in grade four, I think it was. That would make me about nine. It was a brief little story that had a cute surprise ending. I remember my teacher seemed amused and quite pleased with what I had thought up. I have since then tried to remember and jot down just how it goes so that maybe someday I can do more with it.

    I have clippings and scribbles of ideas for future grandeur, and I have even written to Crayola for information so that I can round out one particular story idea. Just this week my sister and I were out shopping and being silly as we do, and some cute idea surfaced .. maybe one day to be a child’s story. I will keep it filed away until the time is right .. or not. 🙂

    Ideas are daytime dreams, don’t you think?


    • HI Lynn,

      If you can find anything inspirational in what you read here then I’m happy to hear that. It is important to keep clippings and to jot down things that catches our fancy because we never know when that spark of inspiration will strike.

      Are ideas daytime dreams? I’ve never thought of it in that terms before but they may very well be!



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