Dennis Coslett

I am a writer and novelist. Welcome to my blog and website. Here, you can learn what is going on in my life and in my writing career.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Where Do Ideas Come From?

Ah, the age-old question. Every non-writer wonders this, and writers frequently hear the question as a result.

"Where do you get your ideas?"

Where, indeed?

From all around you.

The key to having ideas for stories is to start thinking of yourself as a writer, and a certain kind of writer. Then put your subconscious to work. The best part of this process, and the worst part, is that it runs in the background, always there, always humming away.

What it means is that you will find ideas from anything and everything. Whether you are watching TV, reading an article in your state historical society's monthly magazine, or even thinking about nothing, your subconscious is working on the question of what you can write about, and is constantly coming up with ideas.

I have had ideas while watching the aforesaid TV, while reading the aforesaid historical society monthly magazine, while working on novels, and even while reading a model railroading book. (I have entertained an idea for a series of novels about a railroad police detective, so my subconscious sometimes gives me ideas for stories that would be suitable for such a character.)

The problem, of course, is that you may have more ideas than you will have time to write about. I know I have that problem. However, I consider it a good problem to have.

Of course, the hard part of writing is not having the idea: it is turning the idea into a story. I have enough ideas that, if the well ran dry, I would still have stuff to write about for a long time.

What if hit men had a quality control representative?

That's an idea I had once. (As a matter of fact, this is the one I had while watching TV, that I mentioned earlier.) I turned it into a short-short story, available from my writer's pages at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords, if you're interested to see how it turned out

So, to reiterate, my advice is to decide you are a writer, and decide what kind of writer you are. Then just let your subconscious work on the matter.

Then, before too long, you will be reading, or watching TV or a movie, or thinking about a discussion you had, or indeed, anything, and you will find yourself thinking, Hey, that would make a good story.

From that moment on, you won't have to worry about ideas.



8:06 pm cdt          Comments

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About me: I have been writing since the early 1980s, ever since discovering a passion for writing during my senior year in High School. My completed writings include novels, short stories, and newspaper articles. I have completed four novels in that time, and have partially completed two others. I have had little success in finding an agent or a publisher for any of my novels, and have recently taken my efforts online. During the years that I have been writing, I have also served my country as a member of the United States Army's Judge Advocate General's Corps. In the last five years, I have been deployed to Army bases in Iraq, Kansas, and Virginia.

Look for my novel Taylor Made, available from and taylor_made_banner.jpg