Where do my ideas originate?

Victoria Jorgenson
Redwood Falls Gazette

As a young writer, there is always one particular question I’m asked when I speak to someone about my books.

“What gave you the idea?” or “How did you think of this?”

There are 100 different ways to phrase it, but the main question is the same.

Where do my ideas come from and why?

This question kind of confuses me, because it’s one that doesn’t really have a straightforward answer, meaning it tends to be a bit harder to respond to in a way that pleases the person asking. I also have found that, despite my own difficulty answering, I tend to wonder about other writers.

Where do they get their ideas?

As humans, it is natural for us to wonder, especially about meanings behind, but sometimes meaning is harder to find than originally thought.

As a young writer aspiring to eventually make a career in the written arts one day, I have a notebook full of ideas and sometimes it’s hard for me to remember where half of them came from.

My own creativity is almost shocking to me on occasion, because I don’t know where it all comes from. It’s almost impossible to find the root.

Sometimes I wonder how ideas come to other writers, as every idea starts small.

Take Pet Sematary, by Stephen King for example. Did the idea of the cemetery come to him first, or the whole idea of an ancient indian burial ground where dead things could be brought back to life?

Either way, how did every other part of the story manifest itself in his brain and make the story what it is?

To give a personal example, I recently wrote a short story about a couple boating down the river who stopped on an island and found it to be inhabited by killer (human) hands that could move by their own volition.

The idea originally came to write a story based on the Minnesota river bottoms, as I used to boat along the rivers with my dad.

It took me months to write these couple of pages, simply because the hands idea didn’t come to me for quite some time. I knew I wanted the setting to be on the river, and that I thought it would be interesting to add a morbid twist, but that was all I originally had.

To be honest, I still can’t tell you where the idea for human hands came from or why. I remember writing it down in my notebook and then eventually adding it to the story, but it seemed to come out of thin air.

In the end, it’s strange to think that every popular book, or movie, happened to come straight from a couple simple sentences or less. Inspiration can come out of anywhere, sometimes even thin air.

– Victoria Jorgenson is a student at Redwood Valley High School and is the author of two books.