Tips and Tricks

< back to list of questions

Q2: How do you come up with story ideas?

‘Good question! Often I’ll get interested in a person or topic, and the story ideas will spring from there. Or even just an aesthetic, like twenties London.’ Ellen Lindner, Mentor.

‘I read a lot and get a lot of ideas from history and folk stories. My mum and sister are both historians so they are always full of strange facts that I can poach for my stories!’ Isabel Greenberg, Intern.

‘Music is probably my biggest inspiration, I like to translate the thoughts and feelings I get from listening to music as well as interpreting the lyrics – I usually take a line from a song and try to create a narrative and a world around it.’ Freya Harrisson, Intern.

‘I look leftward, then rightward. I look at myself and the things which surround me… dissect my neuroses, and add fantasy to the mundane situations I find myself in. Inspiration strikes, and I try not to go “looking” for stories. I’m aware of how corny it sounds, but they just appear.’ Abraham Christie, Intern.

‘If you: a) train yourself to be a bit of a human camera, and are observant of the world around you, as most creative people are; and b) show an interest in various narrative forms such as films, books, other comics, etc, than ideas will come to you all the time. Getting ideas is never a problem, it’s how you organise and treat ideas that is tricky, and I still struggle with this – recognising a good idea from a bad idea.’ William Goldsmith, Intern.

‘Often you can’t force a good story onto paper, so I like to try and trigger flashes of inspiration by reading about things that interest me (say for example, existentialism, culture, technology, science, magic, food…) or sneakily observing what’s going on around me (people interacting, relationships being forged, nature carrying on as normal).’ Jade Sarson, Intern.

‘Music, lyrics, films, novels, tv and animation, poetry, plays, people, absurdities, small details, conversations, daydreams, what ifs…. If everyone wrote down everything that happened to them in a day, they’d have a thousand stories to tell, or entry points for stories, jokes, characters and mysteries. Write the good ideas down so you don’t forget them, even if they’re only fragments – they may come together later. Comics writer Neil Gaiman once described himself as a thief – because everything that happened to him & every piece of information he digested he’s storing away to use in a story later…’ Lily Rose-Beardshaw, Intern.