How to Get Writing Inspiration

I’m currently working on the first draft of my next novel, so I’m thinking a lot about the creative process and where ideas come from.

I’m one of those lucky writers who’s always got more story ideas in my head than I could possibly write (and to be honest most of them are probably dreadful). Which is one of the reasons I’ve been writing more short stories lately, as a way to get all of those random ideas out onto the page.

My current WIP (work in progress) came very easily: it was inspired by a comment from a beta reader of my previous novel. I hadn’t been planning to write a sequel to it (or more accurately, a third part in the series), but then she said this:

I really enjoy the situation these people are in, and hope Rachel is going to write lots more books about how the other members of the community got there and are moving forward…

That got me thinking. I batted some ideas back and forth with her, and she (and a couple of others) liked the idea of a sequel. Prequels were suggested but I’ve always been put off those by Star Wars!

But not everyone finds inspiration for stories comes easily. So I thought I’d ask a few writers what inspired their latest work in progress.

Some of what they told me made sense, some didn’t, and some was intriguing. So make of these quotes what you will!


The finale of Game of Thrones and the subsequent moaning. Nearing 20k of a long short story that we’ll be publishing soon…

Iain Grant, comic fantasy author

Working for 13 years in an English girls’ boarding school inspired my current WIP, Flat Chance, which is a satirical comedy/mystery/romance mashup that I’m having great fun writing! Although things happened at the real school that are much larger than life, and if I put them in a novel, no-one would ever believe them! (Same goes for my village mystery series, inspired by the lovely Cotswold village I’ve lived in for most of my adult life – you just couldn’t make this place up!)

Debbie Young, author of cozy mysteries

Bandersnatch!

Simon Fairbanks, author of comic fantasy

I was tired and grouchy and giving some of my regular characters implausible happy-ever-afters to cheer myself up. One of my current leads was a bit part in somebody else’s happy ending. The other one walked in right at the end with a speculative glint in their eye and I thought: You two? Really? Well why not …

Alex Brightsmith, fantasy author

Minecraft

Christopher P Garghan, author of contemporary fiction

Quaint local customs in my childhood

Jane Andrews, women’s fiction and YA author

I wanted to take a break from my sci-fi WIP. I started out thinking, ‘what if blade runner was set in a medieval/fantasy world?’ What if the story was told predominantly from the replicants’ viewpoint with blade runners being the bad guys? Instead of androids, it’s a race of humanoids with unique abilities created to battle a long-forgotten threat, now hunted to near extinction by those that created them in the first place. And the long-forgotten threat is about to rear its ugly head.

Mark R Lewis, sci-fi author branching out into fantasy

Wondering what living forever would be like.

Sophy Pople, fantasy author

I wrote the sentence “if you don’t pay, I’ll shoot you in the face,” because it sounded cool. Then I wrote a novel to justify it.

Zayne Black, multi-genre author

The line ‘not all old people are nice,’ the Sheffield floods, and my old job!

Christie Adams, writer and coach

There’s some very varied sources of inspiration there! Which I think goes to prove that inspiration can come from anywhere, and doesn’t always have to be worked for.

If you’re currently working on a novel, story or nonfiction work, what inspired it? Let me know in the comments!

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