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WHERE DO IDEAS COME FROM -- I am often asked this question, not only by friends but other writers. For every writer this is a matter of approach and style and lucky happenstance. Some will hear a snippet of conversation, see an interesting character or random action, or have a theme they wish to explore.

In my case, I tend to get an idea first as a title that encapsulates the story idea or thesis succinctly and visually if at all possible.

For example, I was sitting in the Grasshopper coffeeshop in Amsterdam sampling the Moroccan hashish when a group of 5 American exchange students sat down at the next table. We struck-up a conversation. They asked what I was doing there in Amsterdam and I told them I was in Germany for a wedding and took a side trip to Amsterdam for the coffeeshops. And that, as a writer, I was looking for ideas.

One of them said they wanted to be a writer. I told him his experience sounded to me like the beginning of an interesting story. Soon they left, but I sat there thinking about what had just occurred. A title came to me: AMSTERDAM DAZE, with the story being about 5 American exchange students in Amsterdam for one night -- what could possibly go wrong. Then the story develops like "ten little Indians" where they start dying mysteriously.

The next summer I returned to Amsterdam for a month, having pitched the idea to a producer friend at Paramount. As part of my research, I sought out a homicide detective for an interview. Since then, Simon and I have become great friends. And he is now Hollands top TV Writer/Producer (his show is last pic).

I wrote a treatment, presented it to my friend at Paramount. But, as is often in Hollywood, the studio went into "turnaround" and he lost his producer position. By the time he landed at 20th Century Fox, the idea was dead and so was the project.

Oh well, there are other ideas out there waiting to be discovered. Happy writing to you all.

Snickers77 8 July 30
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Ideas fall out of my head 24/7/365.2 - I wish I could get them to stop sometimes so I can concentration on other things.

MissaDixon Level 7 July 30, 2018

@Snickers77 yes!!!!!! we can have an orderly evacuation


Ach! Ideas. Ideas fall as a perpetual rain on the creative. The biggest problem any writer has is sorting through all the ideas that litter the floor of their tiny hovel in the back woods. My files were once full to overflowing with scribbled notes on napkins, the backs of coffee shop place mats, envelopes, business cards, and 3 x 5 cards arranged alphabetically and each alphabetical group arranged in the order of what I thought the most promising. Because of the relentless march of our technology all of that now resides in thumb drives and on hard drives.

The trick about ideas is not getting them, but deciding which will actually work.

@schway -- Several examples are adrift in this group, some even comprehensible.





I get lots of ideas from the History Channel. A brief story about some historical event that makes me think "Hey! That would make a great screenplay! I want to know more about that event."

Wrytyr Level 7 July 30, 2018

i was a newspaper reporter for decades. I admire people who can write whatever else. it escapes me.

TheDoubter Level 8 July 30, 2018

Brainstorming with my daughter

pixiedust Level 8 July 30, 2018

For a writer, I am a poor typists. That is why I love brianstorming.


Did you hear about the stag party that went to Amsterdam. They all got so stoned when they arrived that they woke up with only 1 1/2 hours before they had to leave. They ended up paintballing prostitutes whilst riding go-karts

273kelvin Level 8 July 30, 2018
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