As a writer, you probably hear this question a lot:
“Where do you get all your ideas from?”
For some reason, it’s the thing that all your non-writer friends seem to want to know.
So what do you tell them?
Do you have a process for finding & gathering ideas, or do you just stumble across them?
As someone who has tried both methods, I would like to strongly recommend that you come up with an idea gathering system.
Because that’s the only way to come up with consistently great ideas whenever you need them…
(And not just whenever they happen to pop into your head.)
The good news is that a great new idea for a play can come from just about anywhere:
* News stories* People you know* Politics or social issues you care about* A dramatic situation* A compelling setting* A strong dramatic question
The list goes on.
As a creative person, you probably get flashes of inspiration all the time. From a snippet of overheard conversation. From a dream. From song lyrics.
Unfortunately most writers let these gems fade away, where they disappear–never to be remembered again.
You don’t want to let that happen!
As a writer you should have an idea capturing system. Somewhere you grab all those stray ideas floating around in your brain and save them, so that you can come back to them and mold them into something bigger and better than the sum of their parts.
How do you do that?
There are really 2 methods I recommend:
1) Keep a notebook handy.
A lot of writers still love the feeling of pen on paper. If that’s you, then you’ll need to keep a little notebook handy at all times!
And by all means, make sure to back up those ideas (saving them on the computer, etc.) every once in a while so that if you ever misplace your notebook, you won’t lose your ideas.
2) Use an app like Evernote.
If you’re more of a tech-friendly writer, you can easily store your ideas in a free note-taking app like Evernote.
Just download the app and whenever you get an idea, type it into your phone. It will sync with the cloud and be backed up so you can look it up anytime.
You can also organize your ideas however makes the most sense to you (like one folder for characters, one for lines of dialogue, one for settings, etc.).
And now that we’ve talked about how to find and keep track of your great ideas, there’s one thing you might be thinking…
…which is that getting ideas is the EASY part.
That’s right, the easy part.
It’s turning those ideas into a fleshed-out play with compelling characters and dramatic tension that gets tricky.
Of course, that’s what your craft is all about, and that’s what you work on every time you sit down at the computer to write.
And when you finish that play, and write those 3 words that are the favorite of every playwright (End of Play), then make sure to send that play out to theaters that are looking for new work.
And if you want more playwriting advice, tips, and hacks, make sure to check out the comprehensive PSH Playwriting Course.