I have a little pill, I take one a day and thanks to it I have ideas and I can now write again. Which is weirdly true, and in itself a fascinating idea for a sci-fi story I think, but not very helpful to anyone else. I feel like Charlie from the story, Flowers for Algernon, which is probably a reference only I’ll get. It is good to live in the future.
My process is:
I keep a dream journal next to my bed. If I have story-dreams, which I have a lot of nowadays, I will write down as much as I remember. I find it best to write down every single idea as soon as I have it, otherwise I might forget. So I have another notepad filled with ideas. I have a vast amount of brightly coloured gel pens beside my notepad because there’s something about plain black ink that just gets me down and gets in the way of the creativity.
I get ideas from the oddest of places. A throw away comment on the forums, about if someone wrote a story about Julius Caesar, would I also expect them to write a lesbian Julia Caesar, inspired me to create Julia Caesar and the Fire of Rome. It was filled with a lot of silliness. I just brainstormed as many ridiculous things as I could for Julia to do, writing down a huge list of them, playing with puns (I love puns) and words people could easily get mixed up. History was also a huge inspiration, I read a lot of wikipedia, I followed links, I did a search on deviantart because I like looking at the pictures. I spoke to people and they had some interesting ideas too that I used. And I just kept playing with the idea, writing, rewriting things, then ditching it all and going with another idea. I’ve a longer description of the creative process that I wrote for @LordIrishDas a while ago.
For PSI, I said to myself, I want to write a game where the entire point is the romances. I loved reading Point Horror, Christopher Pike, RL Stine and a bunch of those type of books in my teens. The school library was filled with them and I could devour them in a couple of hours so I just chewed my way through every single book of that type I could get my hands on. I read a lot of urban fantasy before it was ever called urban fantasy. I’m also an avid White Wolf roleplayer, I’ve tabletopped, played online, LARPed. There’s been a recent flare of interest thanks to Twilight in those sort of things and I wanted to write an urban-fantasy story, where the main character was a normal person who could romance werewolves, vampires and wizards.
I wrote down a list of what romance interests I’d need. I said well I’ll need one good girl, one bad girl, one good boy, one bad boy. There, all the types are now covered, something for everyone. And then I started thinking and poking at the idea, trying to work out who my hero was. Well the whole idea of being normal went out the window, it just didn’t work. The romances are still intended to be integral to the storyline, but evne if they’re not pursued there will be strong friendships.
I actually have a lot of PSI planned out and written down in notebooks. I’ve been lazy when it comes to stringing things together though. I ask myself a lot of questions. I poke at my ideas. I go for walks and turn the ideas over in my head trying to make them take shape and it’s the whole idea creation that I love most of all. It’s the stage where I’m filled with creativity and I’m planning things out before I have to do the hard work of actually writing. It’s where I can work out plots and characters and how they’ll all fit together and have twists and turns reveal themselves to me. I love the whole idea process.