Pam vs. Quita: Story Ideas!

Brainstorming Song of the Day: “Capricorn (A Brand New Name)” by 30 Seconds to Mars

Pam Vs. Quita is a series in which we battle it out over our writing methods and you, our lovely followers, choose the successor…or at least let us know who you agree with more. 🙂

Our first installment of Pam vs. Quita is all about inception. No, not the movie (though as many of you may know, it’s probably our fave movie EVER), but how we actually come up with our masterpieces, a.k.a., our story ideas.

Pam’s Thoughts:

I’m a weirdo. Some of you may remember that the story that nabbed me an agent came from an elaborate dream. You see, I rarely dream about myself–I usually have these grand sequences featuring some of my favorite actors. Again, weirdo here. If the dream sticks with me, then I may finally sit down and jot down my idea.

I’ve also gotten a few ideas from movies that I loved when I was younger, but I try to put my own modern twist to it. Right now, I’m currently working on a WIP that is reminiscent of the Patrick Dempsey classic, Can’t Buy Me Love. My NaNo novel was inspired by my obsession for Lost Boys. Believe me, I’m not plagiarizing the plots–I take the basic formulas but add my own layers.

So after I get the initial idea–say, from a dream or an old movie–I use a strategy that I learned from one of my fave authors, Jodi Picoult. She takes a situation then asks: What if? What if the Lost Boys were about mermaids, not vampires? What if Patrick Dempsey wanted to date the “hot girl” not to gain popularity, but because he needed some kind of alibi? Once I ask a question that I’d like to read more about, I start outlining my first draft. But that’s another blog post…

Quita’s Thoughts:

I get inspiration from the people and things around me. Probably like most writers, I am very observant. I’ll listen in on conversations and when I hear/see something I like, I make a mental note. Now…I’m not very good at keeping mental notes, because, well I’m a lil’ senile. So I have to try and write it down as soon as possible. And I’ve done this from time to time. Here are a few example of how something I have seen/heard influenced my writing and story ideas.

I get TONS of story ideas from my students. I saw one student with dark, long, black hair covering his face, tight black skinny jeans, and bright green converses on his feet. The green converses helped me shape an entire character and side plot in my NaNo project. I will listen to their conversations and how they interact and get ideas from that, too. I came up with one project while listening to a female student talk about how she would murder someone for her favorite singer. I thought about what would really drive a teenager to murder, and I hatched an idea of a young Natural Born Killers-esque couple on the run.

To sum it all up, I’m a complete thief for story ideas. I steal from real life people as well as TV shows, talk shows, reality TV, and books that I admire.

There you have it, peeps. So, Round 1 goes to…???
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14 thoughts on “Pam vs. Quita: Story Ideas!

  1. Not picking a winner, but I'd say I'm a little more like Quita in this regard. I'm hugely inspired by people and things around me. But I do have a little Pam in me too. I ask myself "What if?" all.the.time. Great post, ladies!

  2. Here's the deal: I'm easy.No, NOT LIKE THAT! In terms of inspiration, I find it everywhere. I am easily influenced by my surroundings. TV shows, movies, magazine articles, photos, real-life people walking down the street, conversations had with teens, you name it. So, in my humble and most awesome opinion, it's a tie! 😀

  3. I'm probably more like Quita here. Although, my WIP idea did come from a dream, that's really rare for me. Mostly my ideas come from real life situations. Even the conversations in my stories are inspired by conversations I have or overhear. 🙂 Great post, ladies!!

  4. I have to give this one to Quita. I totally get inspired by the people around me and the stories that people tell. I also get inspired by television though and started on an idea based on a reality show. We'll see how that goes!

  5. Thanks for your input guys! I think the general consensus is we are all uber observers. Even though Pam's baby came from her dream–she steals from real society like the rest of us from time to time. I kind of envy the dream thing, though. She has such cool dreams that always give her inspiration. Me? Well, I dream about a man breaking into the house and trying to stab us…

  6. I abstain! I will NEVER pick between the two of you! In this case though I really do agree with both. I try to stay "alert" regardless of what I'm doing. I can get an idea from a simple gesture an actor makes on TV, or something my co-worker says (one of my novel characters is based on a co-worker), etc. I tend to get my ideas from life, movies and tv! 🙂

  7. Great post! I. Can't. Choose! I eavesdrop all the time and process it through my dreams. I like the TV/movie What If game a lot, but it does get distracting…(What If a lovely WRITER moved to the village in Chocolat and Johnny Depp's character fell in love with her? And brought her lots of chocolate?)

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