Find Writing Ideas All Around You

People often ask me: “Where do you get your ideas?” Most of the time, I don’t know exactly how I came up with an entire book plot, but for someone who’s only been writing since May of 2009 (and yes, this is really true) lots of ideas have gone from my head to the computer in that timeframe. Some good and some kinda crappy.

Guest blog by Julie Cross, author of the YA
novel, TEMPEST (Fall 2011; Thomas Dunne
Books), the first in a trilogy about a 19-year-old
time traveler who witnesses his girlfriend’s
murder. Julie lives in central Illinois with her
husband and three children where she works
as a YMCA Gymnastics Program Director.
Check out her blog here, or on Twitter here.


I’m nearly positive that I’ve always been writing in my head. I realized this Wednesday night when I attended my required CPR/AED certification training. Here’s a little peek inside my crazy mind (my thoughts are in italics):


INSTRUCTOR: Make sure you apply the AED pads to the victim before plugging in the machine …

Hmmm … so if you plug it in first, it won’t read a heartbeat and then it’ll administer a shock just as the kind citizen is pressing the pads onto the victim … I wonder if it would send him flying back wards because that’d be so cool … and tragic.

INSTRUCTOR: The machine knows if a shock is needed and if not, it will tell you to continue with five cycles of compressions and breathing.

Maybe my characters in CIA training could shock each other with AEDs as an exercise or practical joke, like hazing for new agents. . .

ME (out loud)
: What happens if you shock someone and they have a normal heartbeat? It won’t kill them, right?

INSTRUCTOR: Um … well … I’m sure it’ll hurt pretty bad.

ME (out loud): But they’ll still be alive? Just wondering, no reason … really … seriously.

INSTRUCTOR: Anyway … remember to remove all clothing from the victims chest before starting compressions.

Or what if they had to actually learn to stop their heart or slow it down so much an enemy won’t detect a pulse … And my MC might not be able to get his heart back to normal and his partner has to shock him with the paddles while he’s awake and screaming in pain … tears will be running down her face, but she can’t just let him die …

INSTRUCTOR: Okay, who’s ready for the test?

Test?? OMG! I’m totally gonna to fail which means old people running on treadmills are going to start dropping like flies and I’ll be un-certified . . . Oh … wouldn’t in be funny if that dude over there who’s memorized everything like a savant completely freaks and I jump in to save the day… or I could just look over the practice sheet and actually pass the test … yep, I’ll probably go with that one.


*I never said all my ideas were good ones, but it is a constant steady stream and so far the wells not even close to running dry. Sometimes I wish my writer voice would turn off.

**Disclaimer: for the record, I have taken CRP/FIRST AID/LIFE GUARDING so many times. I know it very well and feel confident in exercising my skills. The AED is fairly new for me and I did pass the test.


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2 thoughts on “Find Writing Ideas All Around You

  1. Kiara

    Great example!

    I know exactly what you mean, I think the question ‘where do you get your ideas?’ is far too vague for any writer to ever answer.

    I get my ideas everywhere. Sometimes, I stumble upon an idea that has no relevance to where I am or what I’m doing. They spring up randomly, and as a writer, all you have to do is choose the good ideas from the bad. It’s all about how much further you’re willing to take one. It may end up with publishing, or may end up as only an errant thought. Either way, ideas are everywhere – you just have to be willing to look for them.


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