Where do you get your ideas?

Speaking just for myself, I’ve always found it odd when someone asks me where I get my ideas. I get my ideas from everywhere, from life all around me. A song, a conversation with a friend, a scene in a movie, a picture on the wall, a tree, my pet rabbits, a rumpled pillow on a sofa… Anything and everything is fodder for ideas.

For me, ideas—whether they be plot ideas, character ideas, or something more ephemeral—hit me at random times, from any sort of random prompt. I’ve got a notebook full of story ideas. So I have never really had the problem of thinking “I want to write, but I don’t know what to write about.”

Even so, I often feel uninspired, and sometimes a writing prompt of some sort can help jumpstart me back into the process. My primary go-to writing prompt is music of some sort, but pictures often help, too. So here are some pictures that can perhaps help you to jump-start those creative thoughts.

A pen and a notebook. What will you write?

A pen and a notebook. What will you write?

Something's about to happen here...

Something’s about to happen here…

What a cute wee door! Who lives here?

What a cute wee door! Who lives here?

A lone man and a great wide view. What does he see?

A lone man and a great wide view. What does he see?

Funny name for a train platform...oh, wait, some other author already used this one...

Funny name for a train platform…oh, wait, some other author already used this one…

What song is he playing?

What song is he playing?

Tree creature

Tree creature

There's gotta be a good story behind this one!

There’s gotta be a good story behind this one!

What kind of stories did these pictures prompt for you? Please share in the comments, or even share a link to your web page where you’ve posted your ideas!

(Feel free to copy or repost these pictures, but PLEASE give me credit by linking back to this blog. That’s not only the properly legal thing to do, since I took all of these pictures, but it’s also the ethical thing to do. And the law and ethics so rarely coincide these days!)

More Music to Write By

I’ve written several posts about how music inspires my writing. So I’ve decided to share three more of my favorite songs and how they help me with my current WIP.

Angelit – Garkit

This song could serve as a soundtrack for various scenes, as well as being simple inspiration/mood-setting. Angelit is a Sami folk-rock band from northern Finland, and they usually sing in their own language of Sami. The parts of my book that take place in the real world are set in Finland, and most of it is the northern part of the country known as Lapland.

“Garkit”—which means “escape”—is the perfect song to get me into a mood for writing a fast-paced adventure scene. There’s a battle—and an escape—in the climax of my story, so I often used this song to gear myself up for writing it.

Johanna Kurkela – Oothan tässä vielä huomenna

This is a love song—the title translates as something close to “Will you still be here tomorrow.” It’s by the Finnish singer Johanna Kurkela. It’s appropriate that I use Finnish songs, since—as mentioned earlier—the story begins in Finland, and most of the characters are from that country.

I use this song kind of as the “love theme” for the two lead characters, and listening to it helps put me in a frame of mind to write a romantic scene. Please note, for any romance or erotica readers out there—my book would probably be rated PG. Maybe PG-13, but that’d be due only to the battle scenes and one or two swear words. If you’re looking for steamy romance and lots of innuendoes, this is not the book for you.

But if you like just a dab of romance to liven up the fantasy adventure, then I’ve got that. And no matter what level of romance you prefer in your books, this song is worth a listen. I don’t worry about trying to understand the Finnish (I can catch about three words in the whole song). But the music and her voice are enough to put me in a mood to write.

Värttinä – Kutsu

The song is also Finnish, by the world music band Värttinä; it’s titled “The Call.” The lyrics are simple: “Come to my elfin dwelling. Come into the light.” It fits with several other songs on the album Utu, which tell stories of witches, conjurers, elves, and enchantments.

While my story doesn’t feature witches or elves as such, it is about a world of myth. It’s a world where folk tales have come to life, and ordinary things like the night sky and rivers in the woods aren’t always what they seem.

This song is haunting, creepy, and other-worldly—just the sort of sound I need to inspire me when my protagonists are skulking through the woods and jumping at shadows.

So these are my top three tracks right now for listening. What’s your music to write by?