The one question asked of every established author, by every aspiring writer. It’s an interesting question, and I particularly enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s response, which can be found here.
For me, I have a document on my computer with a list of key words, phrases and ‘what if’s’ to fall back on if I’m feeling stuck, and several notebooks that I usually carry with me, in case something comes to me when I’m out and about.
My real question is slightly different. Having jotted down your ideas, how do you know which ones to follow through with? How do you decide which ideas are worth the effort, and which will fall down in a heap?
Perhaps this is easier if you are working to a deadline – for example, a short story competition with a specific theme – but at other times, when you are staring at a long list of potential plots, how do you decide where to start? I think, in all honesty, the most important thing is just to start…it doesn’t really matter where. Just start writing, and see what develops. There’ll be plenty of time for re-writes later!
After all…having too many ideas is a far better problem than having none at all!