Where to Get Ideas From by Bjørn Larssen – Writing Tips
Where to Get Ideas From by Bjørn Larssen – Writing Tips
Our new segment for 2022 is for new authors/writers and written by published authors, titled – Writing Tips. These posts will be shared with you every Wednesday.
Our latest post is from author Bjørn Larssen on the subject ‘Where to Get Ideas From‘. This post contains affiliate links.
Where to Get Ideas From
My first novel, Storytellers, came to me in a dream that stuck with me for years – characters and plot demanding an outlet. I wrote the book to get rid of their nagging. Unfortunately, no novel-worthy dream followed. I needed to find new ideas… somehow and somewhere.
There are no really original ideas. Unless you’re writing something super artsy-fartsy and experimental, in which case you’re not reading this, there are only six plots in literature. Talent imitates, genius steals, you ask questions.
I’m writing an article about Taylor Swift’s folklore album. As I kept reordering the songs I accidentally came up with half of a thesis, an outline of Swift’s biography, and a potential novel (Kerouac x Celeste Ng x Swift, of course). Unfortunately, I still don’t have the article.
That novel would count as fanfic. I took Swift’s lyrics and music, and did something unexpected with them – something she’d never come up with. 50 Shades of Gray started up as Twilight fanfic and became its own billion dollar industry. Most fanfic might be smut, but smut can be incredibly creative.
It’s more than just lyrics. John Grant’s “Pale Green Ghosts” changed the tone of my WIP. The voice, the melody, the atmosphere all contributed. It doesn’t matter what the song is about. How does it make you feel? Write about those feelings.
I saw a photograph of Prince Harry looking extremely uncomfortable in front of the paparazzi. I then imagined a Norse deity – Magni, son of Thor – with the same haunted facial expression and wild eyes. I asked myself – what could make a Norse God feel this way? Without that image the character and the story would have been completely different. The book might have not happened at all.
Junk markets and second-hand sales will puzzle you. What even is this thing? Who made it – and who bought it? Was it a gift to someone they hated or loved? Or…is it cursed?
Pinterest is a bottomless rabbit hole. Start with a kitten (or a Momoa) and click on “related,” until something makes you stop. Who is this girl and what is she doing with the chain? Is the red tint on this nature photo a sunset or a forest fire? Why does this warm and cosy log cabin look so creepy?
I get overstimulated very easily. Nature calms and grounds me. A friend of mine likes to drive around, thinking of her characters. I think best when I can stare at a campfire and listen to crickets, free from iDevices and distractions. Time becomes an abstraction – ideas become reality. That creepy cabin… What if children mysteriously appear at night when you’re staying there? What do kittens (or Momoas) think about when you sleep?
Yes, you can get ideas for writing through writing.
Freewriting is an interesting technique. Switch off the internal editor, take pen and paper (not a laptop), and let your hand just…write. You don’t think about whether it’s stupid or smart, don’t try to direct it. You let your subconscious speak. It might end up being a rant about your ex – or inspire a trilogy.
Take another book’s plot or subplot and reimagine it in a different genre. What if Lord of the Rings was a YA rom-com taking place in Beverly Hills? Or an m/m romance between Gimli and Legolas with Aragorn as the jealous ex? Ask them – they might answer.
Brainstorm with other authors when you have half an idea. They might help you complete it. Or you’ll just have fun. Everyone wins!
About the Author
Bjørn Larssen is a Norse heathen made in Poland, but mostly located in a Dutch suburb, except for his heart which he lost in Iceland. Born in 1977, he self-published his first graphic novel at the age of seven in a limited edition of one, following this achievement several decades later with his first book containing multiple sentences and winning awards he didn’t design himself. His writing is described as ‘dark’ and ‘literary’, but he remains incapable of taking anything seriously for more than 60 seconds.
Bjørn has a degree in mathematics and has worked as a graphic designer, a model, a bartender, and a blacksmith (not all at the same time). His hobbies include sitting by open fires, dressing like an extra from Vikings, installing operating systems, and dreaming about living in a log cabin in the north of Iceland. He owns one (1) husband and is owned by one (1) neighbourhood cat.
Publisher – josephtailor
Pages – 292
Released – 28th March 2019
ISBN-13 – 978-9082998528
Format – ebook, paperback, hardcover
In March 1920 Icelandic days are short and cold, but the nights are long. For most, on those nights, funny, sad, and dramatic stories are told around the fire. But there is nothing dramatic about Gunnar, a hermit blacksmith who barely manages to make ends meet. He knows nobody will remember him – they already don’t. All he wants is peace, the company of his animals, and a steady supply of his medication. Sometimes he wonders what it would feel like to have a story of his own. He’s about to find out.
Sigurd – a man with a plan, a broken ankle, and shocking amounts of money – won’t talk about himself, but is happy to tell a story that just might get Gunnar killed. The blacksmith’s other “friends” are just as eager to write him into stories of their own – from Brynhildur who wants to fix Gunnar, then marry him, his doctor who is on the precipice of calling for an intervention, The Conservative Women of Iceland who want to rehabilitate Gunnar’s “heathen ways” – even that wicked elf has plans for the blacksmith.
As his defenses begin to crumble, Gunnar decides that perhaps his life is due for a change – on his own terms. But can he avoid the endings others have in mind for him, and forge his own?