I recently finished a draft for a short play I was working on. This particular piece had been sitting on my computer for over 6 months half-finished. In an attempt to clean up some files on my computer, I came across a lot of works-in-progress. Some of them clearly needed to be tossed, but there was something about this play that I liked and I felt it deserved to be completed.
I had no idea where I was going with it, but I did indeed finish writing the play. I sent it to a trusted friend who I know will give me the straight dirt on whether the piece showed any promise or if it needed to be filed in the recycle bin.
The first thing she said was, "I liked it." (Phew! Affirmation is good!) The second thing she said was, "Where do you get these ideas?!?" (That's the punctuation she used and everything!)
So, I realized I couldn't answer that question. I did not specifically set out to write the play that I wrote. Does that make sense? That's not always the case. I recently finished a play that was a very specific assignment with a very specific theme and I knew what I needed/wanted to write. But other times, like with this new short play, I wasn't sure where I was going. I liked the characters; I liked the way they spoke to one another, and I let them lead the way. It turned out to be a quirky little 10-minute play and I'll be having it read by my playwrighting group in a couple of weeks. We'll see what they say about it and if they think it has any legs to go further.
But my point is, where do the ideas come from? For me, they come from life. They come from places you'd least expect it. They come from eavesdropping in grocery stores and restaurants and standing in line at the bank. (Yes...I'm a voracious eavesdropper, just so you know!) But my initial ideas usually morph into something else. Nine times out of ten, the idea changes as the writing progresses. Well, the core may remain the same, but not always. You can't control creativity. You gotta give it free reign...let it run wild. When you do your rewrite...that's when you try to tame it a bit. But rewrites? Oy...rewrites are a bitch!
So tell me...where do your ideas come from?