Where Do Successful Authors Get Their Ideas?



Many of the world's greatest works of literature began as small ideas.


Let's take a look at how some famous authors come up with book ideas that will hopefully help you as you start writing your first book or think about writing your next one.


Neil Gaiman

“I make them up. Out of my head. You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we're doing it. You get ideas when you ask yourself simple questions. The most important of the questions is just, What if...? Another important question is, If only… And then there are the others: I wonder... and If This Goes On... and Wouldn't it be interesting if…


Stephen King

“I get my ideas from everywhere. But what all of my ideas boil down to is seeing maybe one thing, but in a lot of cases it's seeing two things and having them come together in some new and interesting way, and then adding the question 'What if?' 'What if' is always the key question.”


Agatha Christie

“The best time to plan a book is while you’re doing the dishes. The most everyday events and casual observations could trigger the idea for a new plot. I usually have about half a dozen (notebooks) on hand and I used to make notes in them of ideas that struck me, or about some poison or drug, or a clever little bit of swindling that I had read about in the paper.”


Roald Dahl

“Ideas come from tiny germs and you rattle it around and hope for the best and build up a story. Obviously the spark for the idea has got to come from something you see or something you hear.”


Haruki Murakami

“Reflect on what you see. Remember, though, that to reflect is not to rush to determine the rights and wrongs or merits and demerits of what and whom you are observing. Try to consciously refrain from value judgments—don’t rush to conclusions. What’s important is not arriving at clear conclusions but retaining the specifics of a certain situation . . . I strive to retain as complete an image as possible of the scene I have observed, the person I have met, the experience I have undergone, regarding it as a singular “sample,” a kind of test case as it were. I can go back and look at it again later, when my feelings have settled down and there is less urgency, this time inspecting it from a variety of angles. Finally, if and when it seems called for, I can draw my own conclusions.”


How do you come up with ideas for your book? Share them with us in the comments below.


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At IABX, our mission is to promote and empower independent authors. We strive to provide useful and valuable information to do just that.


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